Inter Milan’s chances of winning their first Serie A title in more than a decade took a hit with a 2-1 loss at Sampdoria on Wednesday as veteran coach Claudio Ranieri’s team got the better of Antonio Conte’s Nerazzurri.
Both of Sampdoria’s goals were scored by former Inter players to end the visitors’ eight-match winning streak.
Antonio Candreva put Sampdoria ahead with a penalty before Keita Balde Diao finished off a well-worked counterattack before the break.
Stefan de Vrij pulled one back for Inter with a header in the 65th but the visitors’ sorely lacked a fully fit Romelu Lukaku, who came on only for the final half hour as he returns from injury. The defeat left Inter trailing Italian leader and city rival AC Milan by one point ahead of the Rossoneri’s showdown with nine-time defending champion Juventus.
Also, third-place Roma moved within three points of Inter with a 3-1 win at last-place Crotone before hosting the Nerazzurri on Sunday.
Borja Mayoral, on loan from Real Madrid, scored twice for Roma and won a penalty that Henrikh Mkhitaryan converted.
Inter’s only other league loss this season came in mid-October, when it was defeated 2-1 in the Milan derby.
The Nerazzurri won the last of their 18 Serie A titles in 2010.
Alexis Sanchez had a penalty saved early on by Sampdoria goalkeeper Emil Audero, after which Ashley Young knocked the rebound off the post.
Sampdoria also hit the woodwork early on, with Lorenzo Tonelli’s long header hitting the crossbar.
The second half was played under hard rain.
Sassuolo beat relegation-threatened Genoa 2-1 with a late header from Gianluca Raspadori to move into fourth, holding on to the final Champions League spot.
Atalanta remained one point further back after defeating Parma 3-0 with goals from Luis Muriel, Duvan Zapata and Robin Gosens to move level on points with Napoli, which was hosting promoted Spezia later.
Also, Lazio defeated Fiorentina 2-1 with goals from Felipe Caicedo and Ciro Immobile and was two points behind seventh-place Juventus — which has played two games less — amid a highly competitive table.
Hellas Verona draw 1-1 at Torino; Filippo Inzaghi’s promoted Benevento squad won 2-1 at Cagliari; and Bologna drew 2-2 with Udinese.