Alexis Sanchez back to inspire Inter Milan to victory over Parma

Forgotten man Alexis Sanchez scored twice to earn Inter Milan a 2-1 win at Parma on Thursday, moving the Serie A leaders six points clear at the top of the standings.

Both teams had chances to score in the first half, with Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic forced into a fine save by the hosts’ Jasmin Kurtic, while Inter’s Romelu Lukaku could not convert from a good position just before the interval.

Antonio Conte’s side showed their quality after the break as Sanchez latched on to a loose ball to score in the 54th minute and the Chilean forward added a second eight minutes later after brilliant work from Lukaku.

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Parma cut the deficit through Hernani’s close-range finish in the 71st minute, but Inter held on for another vital victory in their bid for a first Scudetto in 11 years.

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A sixth league win in a row moved the leaders on to 59 points, six clear of AC Milan, and 10 ahead of champions Juventus in third.

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Struggling Parma stayed 19th, six points from safety, and without a league win since November.

Copa del Rey: Bilbao book Barcelona date

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An extra-time goal from Alex Berenguer sealed Athletic Bilbao’s place in a second successive Copa del Rey final when they beat Levante 2-1 after extra time on Thursday to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory.

The Basque side will play Real Sociedad in last season’s postponed Copa final on April 4 before taking on Barcelona in this year’s a fortnight later.

Raul Garcia shot narrowly wide as Bilbao started strongly, but they fell behind against the run of play when Roger Marti fired Levante ahead after 17 minutes with a close-range finish.

Garcia then equalised from the penalty spot on the half-hour mark after being wrestled to the ground by Oscar Duarte when he appeared poised to tap in Inaki Williams’s cross.

The Basque side looked the more likely side in the second half, but were unable to find the breakthrough in normal time before Berenguer’s long-range effort deflected off Nikola Vukcevic and flew into the net eight minutes from the end of the extra period.

Bilbao coach Marcelino Garcia, who won the 2019 Copa while in charge of Valencia, could complete a unique hat-trick of back-to-back cup triumphs.

Barcelona secured their place in April’s showpiece with an extra-time win on Wednesday.

The Catalans overturned Sevilla’s 2-0 lead from the first leg to progress 3-2 on aggregate with goals from Ousmane Dembele, Gerard Pique and Martin Braithwaite.

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