Powerlessness in Italian top match says everything about Inter's competitors

Juventus and AC Milan held each other to a draw on Saturday evening, which seems to have secured the visitors' second place in Serie A behind champions Internazionale.

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Inter secured the Serie A championship last Monday with a decisive 0-2 victory over their city rivals, Milan, significantly widening the points gap.

As the league's runner-up, Milan was left trailing by a substantial seventeen points with only five matches left in the season. Even further behind was Juventus, sitting in third place with a 22-point deficit from the leader. This setting marked a dramatic prelude to the face-off between the second and third-placed teams just five days following Inter's title celebration.

The encounter, however, did not live up to expectations of a classic showdown. The first half passed without much incident until Dusan Vlahovic broke the monotony close to halftime. His free kick could have changed the dynamics of the game, but Marco Sportiello, stepping in for the injured Mike Maignan, showcased his reflexes with a crucial save. Sportiello's performance didn’t drop in the second half; he was instrumental in denying Filip Kostic, Danilo, and Arek Milik from scoring, continually affirming his role as a reliable replacement for Maignan. Milan's offensive attempts were few, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek being the notable contributor to their attacking efforts.

Despite the buildup and the stakes, the match concluded in a goalless draw. AC Milan, with Tijani Reijnders participating for the full duration, might feel like the moral winners as they managed to keep their five-point lead over Juventus intact. This draw was crucial in maintaining their position above Juventus in the league standings. The significance of their position is heightened by this season’s Serie A structure, where even the fifth-placed team qualifies for the Champions League. Thus, Milan's performance not only fortified their standing but also kept their hopes alive for competing in Europe's most prestigious club tournament. As for Juventus, while they did not gain ground, the outcome keeps their Champions League aspirations within reach, albeit dependent on their performance in the remaining fixtures and the results of their rivals.

Updated: 07:15, 27 Apr 2024

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