3/19/2017 10:14:31 AM

Inter's Champions League hopes dented with Torino draw



ROME, Reuters: Inter Milan's Champions League qualification hopes suffered a setback when they managed just a solitary point in a thrilling 2-2 draw at Torino in a thrilling Serie A clash on Saturday, while AC Milan made ground on their neighbours, beating Genoa 1-0.

Antonio Candreva's equaliser rescued Inter, who remain fifth, still five points off the Champions League places.

He slammed the ball into an empty net in the 62nd minute after a glaring error from Joe Hart, who failed to claim Cristian Ansaldi's pinpoint cross.

Afriyie Acquah had given Torino the lead after Daniele Baselli had cancelled out Geoffrey Kondogbia's fine solo opener before the break.

"At this point, the Champions League is further away, because the teams ahead of us are not slowing down," Inter coach Stefano Pioli told Italian broadcaster Mediaset Premium. "I expected more today, perhaps more sharpness.

"We need to prepare for the final sprint, win as many matches as possible and then see where we are at the end," he added. "Getting third wasn't going to be easy, but we had the chances to win."

Inter travelled to Turin on the back of last weekend's eye-catching 7-1 victory over Atalanta, and started brightly, taking the lead in the 27th minute through Kondogbia when he cut in from the right, outmuscled two defenders and slammed home past the culpable Hart, who managed to get a hand to the ball.

While Inter have improved significantly under Pioli, familiar failings remain, and they were pegged back five minutes later when Daniele Baselli profited from some sloppy defending at a corner to head past Samir Handanovic,

Inter lacked the urgency and intricacy that characterised their marvellous display against Atalanta, and Handanovic was forced to make a series of fine saves before Acquah fired the hosts ahead from the edge of the box in the 59th minute.

The point takes Inter up to 55 points, but they remain in fifth and five behind Napoli, who currently occupy the crucial third place ahead of their match at Empoli on Sunday. Leaders Juventus are at Sampdoria, while Roma, in second, host Sassuolo.

Inconsistent Torino are in 10th on 40 points.

Milan moved up to sixth and within two points of Inter with a 1-0 victory over Genoa. Mati Fernandez scoring his first goal for Vincenzo Montella's side -- a delicious lob after lightninginterplay with Gianluca Lapadula in the 33rd minute.

Genoa remain in 16th on 29 points.

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