Milan (AFP) – Christian Eriksen and Achraf Hakimi scored in the second half as Inter Milan beat Crotone 2-0 to move to the brink of the Serie A title on Saturday.
Antonio Conte’s side are 14 points ahead of second-placed Atalanta and can claim their first Scudetto since 2010 with four games to go if the Bergamo side fail to win at Sassuolo on Sunday.
“We are succeeding in toppling a kingdom that had lasted for nine years,” said former Juventus coach Conte, who led the Turin giants to the first three of their current run of nine consecutive league titles.
“Congratulations to all the players, even those who have been less involved for having created something granite, extraordinary which can go down in the history of Inter.”
Dane Eriksen came on as a substitute in the 65th minute and scored four minutes later, firing home a shot which took a deflection off Crotone defender Lisandro Magallan, from Romelu Lukaku’s lay-off.
Lukaku had a goal ruled out before Hakimi struck a second in injury time.
The match pitted the Serie A leaders against the bottom team who were relegated as a result of the loss with four games to play.
Both sides had chances in the first half with Adam Ounas threatening early for the hosts who lost defender Arkadiusz Reca to injury before the break.
Lukaku headed onto the post off a Stefano Sensi corner after 23 minutes.
There was a flurry of activity in front of the Crotone goal before the break with Alessandro Bastoni sending wide after connecting with a Nicolo Barella cross.
Lautaro Martinez’s low shot hit the woodwork before home goalkeeper Alex Cordaz cleared a Sensi effort just before the first-half whistle.
As Inter struggled to break through Conte sent on Eriksen, Ivan Perisic and Alexis Sanchez after 65 minutes.
And the substitutions paid off with Sanchez providing a back-heel flick for Lukaku who teed up Eriksen to fire in just his second goal of the season.
Lukaku missed a chance to add to his 21 goals this campaign with a goal ruled out with seven minutes to go for Perisic’s offside position in the build up.
But Barella sent Moroccan Hakimi clear to beat Cordaz with his seventh goal this season to extend Inter’s unbeaten run to 18 league games, and close to a 19th league crown.
“We’ll watch the (Atalanta) game in our homes, in a serene way,” continued Conte.
“For us what happens tomorrow is relative, we don’t ask anything of anyone. We don’t depend on others, especially after such a championship.”
Inter could also decide the fate of Juventus in the Champions League next season as they meet in the penultimate game in Turin in two weeks.
Juventus are fourth as they continue their fight for a top-four finish at Udinese on Sunday.
AC Milan, in fifth, but equal on points with Juventus, host 18th-placed Benevento later on Saturday.