Inter Milan defeated AS Roma 2-1 on Saturday to help nudge Juventus closer to a fourth successive Serie A title.

If Juventus beat Torino on Sunday and second-placed Lazio lose to Chievo, they will be crowned champions.

Juve would be 18 points clear with six games remaining but could not be caught because they hold the head-to-head tiebreaker on both Roma and Lazio.

Saturday’s result between Roma and Inter — which featured 10 yellow cards — also gave Lazio the upper hand in the battle for second place and an automatic Champions League berth.  

Inter took the lead after 15 minutes when Hernanes fired home from inside the box to give Roma’s Italian goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis little chance. 

Roma dominated possession and pushed hard following the goal but had to wait until the 63rd minute to get back on level terms. 

A sweeping move led to a a cross-field pass that found Belgian midfielder Radja Nainggolan who drilled a fierce low shot past the despairing dive of Slovenian ‘keeper Samir Handanovic.

However, the Roma defence collapsed again with two minutes left when Mauro Icardi swept home a loose ball in the box to give Inter three morale-boosting points that lifts them to seventh in the table. 

“We hit the woodwork in the first half, but after the break we played more like Roma,” said Roma coach Rudi Garcia.

“I have nothing to complain about when it comes to the attitude and desire to win in the second half from my lads. We don’t have time to complain, as there’s another game on Wednesday.”

Earlier, struggling AC Milan were beaten 2-1 at Udinese as the pressure increased on coach Filippo Inzaghi following what was a ninth league defeat of the season. 

Giampiero Pinzi opened the scoring just before the hour mark for Udinese when he lashed home a low shot following a corner before Emmanuel Agyemang Badu pounced on a loose ball to put the home side 2-0 up wuth 16 minutes left. 

Seven-time European champions Milan, who are 10th in the table and a distant 30 points behind Juventus, grabbed a consolation goal with two minutes left thanks to a Giampaolo Pazzini strike but it was too little too late. 

Udinese climb to 12th as they pick up their ninth win of the season. 

Inzaghi, in his first season as a head coach and the fifth highest scorer in Italian history with 313 goals, is hanging onto his job with the team well outside the European places and now playing only for pride.  – Agence France-Presse

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