Inter continue Serie A title party as Bologna slip in Champions League bid

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Inter Milan;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Inter Milan</a> celebrated their 20th Italian league title in front of their own fans (Piero CRUCIATTI)
Inter Milan celebrated their 20th Italian league title in front of their own fans (Piero CRUCIATTI)

Inter Milan began their official Serie A title party on Sunday as the newly-crowned champions set off on a parade around their home city after a straightforward 2-0 win over 10-man Torino.

The 75,000 fans present at Sunday's on-pitch procession will be able to follow their victorious team around Milan before they reach joyous hordes at the Italian city's iconic Piazza del Duomo.

Supporters lined the streets around the San Siro as the team slowly set off on a four-hour jaunt, their passage away from the stadium hampered by a huge crowd hailing their heroes who won the Scudetto with five matches to spare.

Most of those fans were denied the chance to see Inter win their 20th league championship in the flesh on Monday night as they beat local rivals AC Milan as the away team in a thrilling local derby.

Those who were at the San Siro on Sunday saw Hakan Calhanoglu's second-half double, a fine first-time strike in the 56th minute and a penalty four minutes later, earn Inter a 28th league win of the season.

Calhanoglu winning the lunchtime clash was appropriate as the Turkey captain has been key to Inter's charge to the title, becoming one of Europe's best deep-lying playmakers since being signed from AC Milan three years ago.

"I didn't think I would score twice today, play well in a packed stadium and enjoy it so much," said Calhanoglu to DAZN.

The 30-year-old is a hate figure for Milan supporters but he has rubbed his former fans' faces in it this season, which with Euro 2024 on the horizon has probably been the best of his career.

His brace took his all-competitions goal tally for the season to 15 and extended Inter's lead on second-placed Milan to a whopping 19 points.

Calhanoglu has not scored that many goals in a single season since netting 17 as a teenager playing for Karlsruher in Germany's third tier.

"Today is a wonderful day, I don't want to talk about that other lot (AC Milan). Today I'm going to have fun," added Calhanoglu.

Inter were however helped by Adrien Tameze being sent off in the 49th minute for bundling over Henrikh Mkhitaryan, referee Maria Sole Ferrieri Caputi overturning her original decision to book Tameze after a check at the pitch-side monitor.

And Ferrieri Caputi had a much easier decision to make when Matteo Lovato brought down Marcus Thuram, allowing Calhanoglu to slam home from the spot and turn attentions to the post-match festivities.

- Bologna slip -

Bologna slipped up in their bid for a first-ever appearance in the modern Champions League as they were held to a surprise 1-1 home draw by 18th-placed Udinese, who are three points from safety.

Thiago Motta's side, whose last continental adventure was a run to the 2002 Intertoto Cup final, would have joined third-placed Juventus on 65 points with a win but could only manage a draw after Martín Payero's opener for the away side in stoppage time at the end of the first half.

However Bologna are eight points ahead of sixth-placed Lazio thanks to Alexis Saelemaekers' 78th-minute free-kick, which came with his team down to 10 men following Sam Beukema's sending off 12 minutes earlier.

Currently in the final Champions League spot are Roma, in fifth and three points in front of Lazio ahead of their huge fixture at outgoing champions Napoli later on Sunday.

Daniele De Rossi's Roma have a fiendishly tough end to the season with the first leg of their Europa League semi-final with German champions Bayer Leverkusen coming up on Thursday and clashes with Juve and Atalanta among their last five league fixtures of the campaign.

Atalanta, who have a game in hand on the rest of their top-five rivals, host lowly Empoli at the same time as Roma kick-off in Naples.

Gian Piero Gasperini's side are a point behind Lazio in seventh and have their own Europa League semi with Marseille to contend with on Thursday after also reaching the Italian Cup final.