Inter on Brink of Serie a Title With Win That Relegates Crotone

Inter
Soccer Football – Serie A – Crotone v Inter Milan – Stadio Ezio Scida, Crotone, Italy – May 1, 2021 Inter Milan’s Christian Eriksen celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Inter Milan’s Christian Eriksen scored midway through the second half to set the runaway Serie A leaders on the way to a 2-0 win at Crotone on Saturday that moved them within a point of clinching the title and confirmed their hosts’ relegation. 

Inter are on 82 points, 14 clear of second-placed Atalanta, and need one point to guarantee a first league title since 2010 due to their superior head-to-head record over the Bergamo club. 

However, they will be crowned champions on Sunday if Atalanta fail to win at Sassuolo, ending Juventus’ nine-year stranglehold on the title. 

Soccer Football – Serie A – Crotone v Inter Milan – Stadio Ezio Scida, Crotone, Italy – May 1, 2021 Inter Milan’s Achraf Hakimi celebrates scoring their second goal with Christian Eriksen and Alexis Sanchez REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

Eriksen’s deflected effort four minutes after coming off the bench found the bottom corner in the 69th minute to make the breakthrough and Achraf Hakimi finished a counter-attack to double Inter’s lead in stoppage time. 

Asked if he had scored the title-winning goal for Inter, Eriksen told Sky Italia: “Not officially, we have to wait for tomorrow. But we are very close to the title.

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“I am very happy for the goal. I haven’t scored a lot but if this is the Scudetto-winning goal, I will be so happy.” 

Eriksen’s strike condemned bottom side Crotone to relegation. Serse Cosmi’s side have 18 points, 13 fewer than Cagliari in the safety zone in 17th place with four games remaining. 

Inter were twice denied by the woodwork in the first half as Romelu Lukaku glanced a close-range header off the upright before a Lautaro Martinez shot struck the foot of the post.

Conte turned to his bench in the 65th minute to inject some life into his side’s attack with a positive triple change, introducing Eriksen, winger Ivan Perisic and striker Alexis Sanchez.

The move immediately paid off as Lukaku laid a pass into the path of Eriksen four minutes later and the Dane’s powerful shot took a deflection on its way into the net. 

Lukaku’s involvement made him the first player to score 20 or more goals and provide at least 10 assists in a single Serie A season since OPTA started collecting the data in 2004/05. 

Perisic came close to extending the lead with a curling shot and the Croatian then set up Lukaku but the Belgian’s effort was disallowed for offside.

Hakimi made sure of the points late on by sliding a neat finish under goalkeeper Alex Cordaz to complete a sweeping counter-attack as Inter moved closer to the title.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Ken Ferris; Reuters

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