Soccer-Inter go third in Italy with 2-0 win over Benevento

MILAN, Italy, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Second-half goals from central defenders Milan Skriniar and Andrea Ranocchia gave Inter Milan a 2-0 home win over bottom team Benevento on Saturday and boosted their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League group stage.

In the day's early fixture Bologna beat Genoa 2-0 at home thanks to goals from Mattia Destro and Cesar Falletti.

Three times European champions Inter, who last won the continent's elite club competition in 2010, provisionally moved two places up to third despite an unimpressive performance which drew occasional jeers from the home crowd at the San Siro.

Benevento looked the more adventurous side in the first half and their striker Massimo Coda forced a fine save from Inter keeper Samir Handanovic after Ivan Perisic headed wide of the far post at the other end.

Coda blazed another shot over the bar on the hour before Skriniar broke the deadlock in the 66th minute, powering a header past Christian Puggioni after the keeper got a hand to it but could not keep it out.

Ranocchia made it 2-0 three minutes later with a diving header which gave Puggioni no chance after right back Joao Cancelo swung in an inviting free kick from his flank.

The result, only Inter's second league win in their last 11 games, eased the pressure off coach Luciano Spalletti ahead of next weekend's city derby with AC Milan and the subsequent clash with current leaders Napoli on March 11.

Close range tap-ins from Destro and Falletti allowed Bologna to beat Genoa in their mid-table clash.

In Sunday's standout fixtures, second-placed champions Juventus are at home to Atalanta while fourth-placed AS Roma entertain AC Milan in the capital.

Napoli, who are a point ahead of Juventus in their two-horse title race, are away to struggling Cagliari on Monday. (Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis)

02/24/2018 16:56

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