Lukaku brace at Bologna fires Inter top, Roma beat Napoli to go third
Romelu Lukaku continued his red-hot scoring form to shoot Inter Milan top of Serie A with a brace in a late 2-1 win at Bologna, while Roma moved up to third with an enthralling win by the same scoreline over wobbling Napoli.
Lukaku tapped home his eighth goal of the season 15 minutes before the end to cancel out Roberto Soriano’s deflected opener before slotting home a stoppage time penalty to send Antonio Conte’s side two points ahead of Juventus.
He becomes the first player since Ronaldo in 1997/98 to score at least nine goals in his first 11 Serie A matches as an Inter player, but his side will nonetheless drop back down to second if champions Juve beat local rivals Torino later on Saturday.
“It was a very important penalty, as we simply had to win today,” Lukaku told Sky Sport.
“I’m pleased to have had such a good start, but I am 26 years old and I need to grow every day, along with the whole team.”
Inter have been tipped as the principal challengers for Juve’s Serie A title but had to be saved from a lacklustre display by their star summer signing.
The away side twice thought they had taken the lead in the first half, only for Lautaro Martinez to be flagged offside and Lukaku denied by the ball going out of play before Martinez’s cross.
Soriano put the hosts, missing coach Sinisa Mihajlovic as he battles Leukemia, in the lead when he rifled home from Mattias Svanberg’s layoff.
Lukaku pounced to level after Milan Skriniar’s shot was well saved by Lukasz Skorupski, and he stepped up to snatch the three points when the lively Martinez was felled by a daft challenge from Riccardo Orsolini as he darted in the box with seconds remaining.
Inter are also six points ahead of Roma, who moved third in Serie A on Saturday after their win over Napoli that took them to within four of Juve.
Resurgent Roma third
Rising star Nicolo Zaniolo opened the scoring midway through the first half with his fourth goal in as many games in all competitions before Jordan Veretout sealed the points from the penalty spot 10 minutes after the break and stretched Roma’s unbeaten league run to six games.
“We are really happy with the victory, it was a head-to-head we needed to win and we did. We’ve always said that we are a team with great talent and we are back on form after losing our way a bit last season,” Zaniolo told Sky Sport.
“I’m very pleased with my current form, I hope to continue like this and to score many more goals.”
Arkadiusz Milik’s fifth goal in four games closed the gap for Napoli, but the defeat sees them drop down to seventh, level on 18 points with Lazio and Cagliari and eight behind Juve after winning just one of their last five in Serie A.
Paulo Fonseca’s Roma meanwhile are on a fine recent run despite an injury crisis that kept a host of first team starters out of action over the last few weeks.
The Portuguese has his side playing well despite missing three starting midfielders to injury and central defender Federico Fazio following his straight red card in their 4-0 win at Udinese last weekend.They are set to have further selection problems next week after Fazio’s replacement Mert Cetin was sent off for two bookable offences deep in stoppage time.
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