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The Champions League Push: Week 19 Review

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Let’s check-in on Inter’s Champions League rivals.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

We’re trying out a new weekly segment here at Serpents of Inter. With Inter looking to push for a top-three Serie A finish—and an all-important Champions League spot—in the second half of the season, let’s check-in on how the clubs above the Nerazzurri fared this weekend.

Week 19

Inter entered week 19 in 7th place in Serie A, five points behind third-place Napoli and 12 points behind league leaders, Juventus. Unfortunately, despite the 2-1 victory over Udinese, Inter were unable to make up any ground on the clubs ahead of them in the standings.

Atalanta

Atalanta is perhaps the most surprising team to see ahead of Inter in the table. They entered week 19 with a two-point lead over the Nerazzurri, and faced Chievo Verona away.

Atalanta won the match 4-1, with Alejandro Gomez netting two goals in 22 minutes to start the game. Andrea Conti added a tap-in goal before halftime, after Gomez’s hat tick bid was saved but not cleared by Stefano Sorrentino. While Chievo’s Sergio Pellissier was able to bring the home side to within two in the second half, Remo Freuler sealed the victory for Atalanta with his 69th minute goal.

Roberto Gagliardini, who has officially just made the switch to Inter, did not feature for Atalanta.

Points ahead of Inter: 2

Next up: Lazio away on Sunday, January 15th.

A.C. Milan

A.C. Milan entered week 19 with a three-point lead over Inter in the table, but have a game in-hand thanks to the Supercoppa Italiana.

Throughout the match, Milan looked to be one of the most likely of Inter’s rivals to drop points this weekend. Despite having 58 percent of the possession, and taking a staggering 29 shots, it took Milan 88 minutes to find the back of the net against Cagliari.

Carlos Bacca was left alone in the box after Cagliari failed to clear Gianlucca Lapadula’s off balanced shot, and Bacca scored to end his over three month Serie A goal drought. Bruno Alves’ late red card in the 94th minute sealed the victory for Milan.

Points ahead of Inter: 3

Next up: Torino away on Monday, January 16th.

Lazio

Despite losing to Inter 3-0 before the break, Lazio entered the week four points ahead of the Nerazzurri, and faced lowly Crotone at the Stadio Olimpico.

Lazio won the match 1-0, but likely should’ve won by a bigger margin. Cristiano Lombardi seemed to score from a Luis Alberto cross, but the goal was ruled offside in an incredibly close decision. Then, Lucas Biglia hammered a penalty off the crossbar.

Despite dominating the game, Lazio didn’t break through until the 90th minute, when Ciro Immobile scored after Bruno Martella deflected the ball right to his feet in the box.

Points ahead of Inter: 4

Next up: Atalanta at home on Sunday, January 15th.

Napoli

Napoli, the highest scoring team in Serie A, entered week 19 with a five point lead over Inter, having scored 16 goals in their last four matches before the break. They faced Sampdoria at home, and had to overcome a deficit to win 2-1.

In the 30th minute, Napoli’s Elseid Hysaj deflected a Patrik Schick cross into his own net to give Sampdoria a 1-0 lead. But the match’s turning point came in the 60th minute when Matias Silvestre was controversially sent off after two quick yellow cards. Silvestre barley made contact with Pepe Reina in his second foul.

With Sampdoria down to 10 men, Napoli were able to score two goals; Manolo Gabbiadini scored in the 77th minute, and Lorenzo Tonelli dramatically won the match in the final minute of stoppage time.

Points ahead of Inter: 5

Next up: Pescara at home on Sunday, January 15th.

Roma

Sitting eight points ahead of Inter, and just four points behind league leading Juventus, Roma seem to be the only club that could conceivably challenge Juve for the title this season. Roma faced Genoa away in week 19.

Roma won 1-0 thanks to an Armando Izzo own goal in the 36th minute. But this game will be remembered for Wojciech Szczesny’s incredible stoppage time save to rob Lucas Ocampos of an equalizer:

Points ahead of Inter: 8

Next up: Udinese away on Sunday, January 15th.

Juventus

Italy’s league leaders entered week 19 twelve points ahead of Inter, and four points ahead of Roma (with a game in hand). Juventus hosted 15th place Bologna on Sunday, and cruised to a 3-0 victory.

Gonzalo Higuain scored twice—he’s now scored seven goals in the past six games, and 16 in all competitions this season. Paulo Dybala was the other goal scorer for Juve, converting a penalty. The victory saw Juventus extend their Serie A home winning streak to an incredible 26 games. Here’s hoping Inter can end that streak on February 5th.

Points ahead of Inter: 12

Next up: Fiorentina away on Sunday, January 15th.

Table

Here’s how the table looks entering week 20:

With Lazio hosting Atalanta this weekend, let’s hope Inter can make up some ground with a win against Chievo.