Inter trimmed Napoli’s huge Serie A lead to 15 points with Sunday’s straightforward 2-0 win over Lecce, which moved them back into second place.
Goals in each half from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lautaro Martinez gave Inter the points against promoted Lecce and slightly closed the gap to Napoli.
However, the league title is still a distant hope despite Napoli’s shock home defeat to Lazio on Friday night, Inter’s main concern being Champions League football next season.
Simone Inzaghi’s side retook second spot from Lazio and moved six points in front of fifth-placed Roma who host Juventus in Sunday’s big match.
Lecce, in 15th, have been a thorn in the side of Italy’s big boys this season but offered very little at a subdued San Siro.
The hosts took the lead with their first good move of the match, Robin Gosens flying down the left flank before flashing over a low cross which arrived at Nicolo Barella.
Italy midfielder Barella then waited before feeding Mkhitaryan, who perfectly placed his curling effort from the edge of the area into the top corner.
Martinez doubled Inter’s lead in the 53rd minute with his 14th Serie A goal of the season, hitting Denzel Dumfries’ low cross past Wladimiro Falcone to make sure of the win.
Defeat didn’t have much impact on Lecce’s survival hopes as they are nine points above Verona, who are just inside the relegation zone and drew 0-0 with fellow strugglers Spezia earlier on Sunday.
Verona are three points behind a Spezia team hovering dangerously above the drop zone and six ahead of troubled bottom side Sampdoria.
Without a win in nine and weighed down by financial problems, Samp only managed a goalless draw with Salernitana in Sunday’s early match.
Salernitana are also trying to beat the drop and the uneventful stalemate in Genoa kept Paulo Sousa’s side seven points ahead of Verona.
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