Inter draws 1-1 with Cagliari as title challenge falters


MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan’s title challenge took another blow after the team was held 1-1 by Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday as its traditional mid-season slump appears to have taken hold again.

Radja Nainggolan, who is on loan from Inter, came back to haunt his former club when he scored the equalizer 12 minutes from time to cancel out Lautaro Martínez’s opener — which was set up by new Nerazzurri signing Ashley Young.

Second-placed Inter could find itself six points behind Juventus if Maurizio Sarri’s side wins at Napoli later. Lazio could also move level on points with Inter, with a match in hand, if it wins the Rome derby.

It was Inter’s third successive draw in Serie A. Since 2013, Inter has only once managed to win more than one league match in January.

“We often lose awareness because of tiredness,” Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic said. “But we could have finished off these matches earlier.

“We have made mistakes that we shouldn’t be doing if we want to aim for something important. I’m not worried because we’re creating chances. We’re lacking a bit of quality in finishing, but it’s more worrying when you don’t create them.”

Young, who was making his debut after joining from Manchester United, had an immediate impact. He crossed the ball for Martínez to head in at the far post in the 29th minute.

Young had no assists in the Premier League this season.

Inter wasted a number of opportunities to extend its advantage and was made to pay for its profligacy as Nainggolan’s strike from outside the area was deflected in off the base of the left post.

It got worse for Inter as Martínez was sent off in stoppage time after being shown a yellow card for dissent and an immediate second for something else he said to the referee. Martínez had to be dragged off the pitch and Inter players and staff surrounded the referee after the final whistle.

Inter coach Antonio Conte did not talk to the media after the match because he was not feeling well, according to the club, and Handanovic was the only player to speak.

“Certainly we didn’t lose because of the referee, we only complained because he didn’t blow for any foul against our attackers while for them he did,” the Inter captain added.

“We’re not blaming the referee four our draw, we should try to finish off the matches before and in that case we wouldn’t be talking about all this.”

Source: Fox Sports

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