Inter still highly motivated with treble in play as it visits new Serie A champ

MILAN (AP) — Even though it has reached the Champions League final, Inter Milan isn’t certain yet of playing in the Champions League next season.

The top four in Serie A qualify. Inter is third, and five points clear of fifth-placed AC Milan.

Inter can secure a berth on Sunday if it can go to Naples and beat new Serie A champion Napoli, and other results go its way.

Inter ought to be far more up for the game than Napoli.

Napoli was the champion-in-waiting for months and finally clinched the title two weeks ago. Amid the celebrations, it has won one game and drawn one and there are likely to be more partying scenes at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

There are few goals left for Napoli. It’s still possible for Luciano Spalletti’s team to break Napoli’s record season tally of 91 points under Maurizio Sarri in 2018, as the club has 83 points with three matches to play.

But it’s hard to see the new champions going all out for a mere points record, while Inter has a treble of trophies in play.

While not quite in the realm of Manchester City’s treble bid — Champions League, English Premier League, FA Cup — Inter won the Italian Super Cup in January, has the Italian Cup final against Fiorentina next Wednesday, and then the Champions League final with City next month.

The Nerazzurri beat AC Milan 1-0 on Tuesday to advance to the final of the Champions League. The goal came from Lautaro Martínez, who has six from his last six matches.

“The Champions League final is a dream come true,” Martinez said. “We started this season and set ourselves goals and we have added an important goal for all of us.

“We lost some matches in the (Serie A), but in the Champions League we showed that Inter are there, and there are important players who can make a difference in this side.”

Few are as important to Inter, though, as Martínez, who has already enjoyed a special season after helping Argentina win the World Cup in December.

Inter is finishing the season strong, on a streak of eight wins, including five in Serie A.

Unlike Napoli, Inter isn’t in a partying mood yet.


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