Inter leapfrogs Juventus to top Serie A as Bianconeri draw

Lionel Messi Cristiano Ronaldo Raul Gonzalez Champions League 2019-20

Messi's candidacy comes on the heels of a La Liga-winning campaign, although the Argentine's Barcelona were beaten in the Champions League semi-finals by Van Dijk's Liverpool.

Spal pulled one back in the second half through a moment of individual brilliance from Mattia Valoti, but Inter hung on to take advantage of Juventus dropping points by drawing 2-2 against Sassuolo earlier in the day.

"But we were coming off two games in which we used up a lot of energy against Atalanta and Atletico Madrid".

"Every time we lost the ball we were wide open".

"We woke up after going behind".

Sassuolo's first-choice goalkeeper Gianluca Pegolo was recovering from surgery and reserve Andrea Consigli was also injured, so 18-year-old Stefano Turati was handed his debut.

Ronaldo started up front for Juventus, having missed last weekend´s league game with a slight knee problem, with Champions League hero Paulo Dybala starting on the bench.

Lamenting the succession of errors that led to Gianluigi Buffon's fumble for Sassuolo's second goal, Sarri said: 'It was an incredible series of mistakes, from a bad back-pass to another that hit a Sassuolo player.

Bonucci got Juventus off the mark with a long-range effort on 20 minutes.

But three minutes later Boga pounced on a Caputo cross sending in past an out-rushing Buffon from an angle.

That appeared to jolt Juventus into action and Turati needed an impressive save to keep out a Ronaldo free kick. Apart from sharing a homeland with him, he also praised the striker's bold move from Real Madrid to the Italian club past year. "Yesterday I called him in the hotel and told him to enjoy it, that if he didn't sleep it was normal, but not to have too many expectations, too much anxiety".

Lazio consolidated third place - seven points behind Inter - with a 3-0 win over Udinese thanks to a double from Serie A top scorer Ciro Immobile, including one from the spot, to bring his tally to 17 goals this season, and a Luis Alberto penalty.

Napoli was playing Bologna later ahead of Roma's match at Hellas Verona.

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