On a night when Romelu Lukaku was the focus of Inter Milan fans’ ire, Marcus Thuram — who replaced the departed Belgium striker — scored in a 1-0 win over Roma on Sunday to restore the Nerazzurri atop Serie A.
Thuram redirected a cross from Federico Dimarco from close range in the 81st minute at the San Siro to finally break apart Jose Mourinho’s defensive tactics.
While Mourinho was suspended and watched the match from the stands, Roma still sat back and absorbed attack after attack.
In the first half alone, Roma conceded 12 shots without attempting a single shot of its own. By the end, Inter had produced 19 shots to Roma’s three.
Inter twice hit the crossbar, first with Hakan Calhanoglu early on and then with Carlos Augusto in the final minutes.
Inter moved two points ahead of Juventus, which beat Hellas Verona 1-0 on Saturday to move top — albeit temporarily — for the first time in more than three years.
Roma stayed eighth, 11 points behind Inter.
AC Milan remained third, three points back, after squandering a two-goal advantage in a 2-2 draw at defending champion Napoli.
While the buildup was all about Lukaku facing his former club, Lukaku’s biggest impact was clearing away Inter corners — giving Inter fans little chance to whistle at the player who left their club acrimoniously after last season and then joined a fierce rival.
Mourinho was also formerly with Inter, having led the Nerazzurri to a treble of titles in 2010.
Thuram has been involved in nine goals already — four scores and five assists.
Napoli stormed back with goals from Matteo Politano and Giacomo Raspadori early in the second half against Milan after Olivier Giroud had scored a brace.
Raspadori scored with a precise free-kick around Milan’s wall — the first goal from a direct free kick in the Italian league this season.
Milan’s United States international Christian Pulisic exited at halftime with an apparent muscular issue.
Napoli, which was without an injured centre forward Victor Osimhen, remained fourth, seven points behind Inter.
Napoli finished with 10 men after centre-back Natan picked up his second yellow in the 89th.
Milan is now winless against Inter, Juventus and Napoli — its three title rivals.
Claudio Ranieri’s Cagliari became the first team in Serie A history to overturn a three-goal deficit after 70 minutes, coming all the way back to beat visiting Frosinone 4-3 with a brace from Leonardo Pavoletti in stoppage time.
Also, Modena and Udinese drew 1-1 with Andrea Colpani and Lorenzo Lucca trading goals. It was the fifth goal this season for Colpani — leaving only Jude Bellingham (10 goals) and Bryan Mbeumo (6) among midfielders who have scored more in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
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