Kopar Khairane
Sports

Inter Milan defeats Atalanta in Serie A to qualify for the UEFA Champions League

With a 3-2 victory against Atalanta, Inter Milan guaranteed their spot in the Champions League for the next season. Atalanta shown strong form going into the premier club championship of Europe's calendar next month.

After winning the Italian Cup on Wednesday with an exciting victory against Atalanta, Simone Inzaghi's team moved up to second in Serie A thanks to an early blitz from Romelu Lukaku and Nicolo Barella and a straightforward finish from Lautaro Martinez in the 77th minute.

Inter appeared in good shape with English champions Manchester City waiting for them in Istanbul on June 10. Inter are eight points clear of fifth-placed Atalanta, whose season-long aspirations of finishing in the top four are now dashed.

Their victory also ensures that fourth-placed AC Milan, who was eliminated by their local rivals last week in the semifinals, simply has to avoid losing at struggling Juventus on Sunday night in order to guarantee their return to the Champions League.

“I'm incredibly thrilled because I know what this game meant for the club… 48 hours after the cup, the lads somehow managed to provide all that energy,” Inzaghi told DAZN.

“When you work as a team, you overcome obstacles and win trophies and make it to the Champions League finals.”

Less than a minute into what may be his last game at the San Siro as an Inter player—his loan from Chelsea expires at the end of next month—Lukaku gave the home team the lead.

After being sent flying through by Martinez, the Belgian attacker, who is hopeful a deal will be reached with Chelsea to remain in Milan, circled Marco Sportiello and rolled in his seventh goal in 10 games.

After Federico Dimarco was denied by Sportiello, Barella rammed home a volleyed finish to give Inter a 2-0 lead in the third minute.

Nine minutes before halftime, Mario Pasalic reduced the score, but Inter was the stronger team, and Martinez secured the victory with his 27th goal of the season in all competitions.

Marcelo Brozovic received a slide-rule ball from Lukaku that enabled the Croatia midfielder to roll over a crucial opportunity for World Cup victor Martinez.

The visiting team's magnificent stoppage-time goal from Luis Muriel was barely a consolation.

In a matchup of clubs competing in European finals, Atalanta is one point ahead of Roma, whose prospects of reaching the top four were extinguished by a 2-1 defeat at Fiorentina.

Roma, led by Jose Mourinho, is now four points behind Milan and must defeat Sevilla in Wednesday's Europa League final in order to qualify for the Champions League.

MORE RACE-BASED SERIES

During his team's 4-0 victory against Spezia, Torino coach Ivan Juric became the most recent target of racial abuse in Serie A.

The beating Spezia received on Saturday put them in danger of slipping into the relegation zone, and former Croatia midfielder Juric lamented being referred to as a “gypsy” towards the conclusion of the first half after the game.

Regardless of their nationality, some football fans often call players from the Balkans and eastern Europe by the Italian phrase for a gypsy.

Similar taunts from Roma supporters were directed towards Dejan Stankovic last month, and on Saturday, referee Marco Guida had to momentarily halt the game due to the abuse.

“We received the typical taunts; after a time, it becomes downright ugly. It's not pleasant for anyone, Juric told the media.

“When that kind of thing occurs, you tell yourself, 'I won't respond, I won't react, leave it. That's my intention, however after a time it starts to feel pretty awful. You must accept the responses from the public because you are really upset.

If Verona wins Sunday's early match against already-safe Empoli, Spezia will fall into the relegation zone.

Torino's easy victory helped the team move up to eighth place, which was excellent news for Lecce, who are two points ahead of Spezia in 16th place.

Lecce play at Monza on Sunday afternoon, but if they defeat Empoli, they may start the match behind Verona.

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