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Inter Milan players: Toothless as they fire blank to leave Juve on brink of the title


Romelu Lukaku's wastefulness proved costly as Fiorentina claimed a 0-0 draw at San Siro to leave toothless Inter's Serie A title hopes hanging by a thread.

Lukaku could have had a first-half hat-trick on Wednesday but a combination of poor finishing and inspired Viola goalkeeper Pietro Terracciano left Inter frustrated time and again.

The Belgium striker and Alexis Sanchez hit the woodwork as Antonio Conte's side missed the chance to move above Atalanta into second place with three games to play.

Inter dominated the majority of the match but could not find a way past Terracciano and it should be only a matter of time before Juve celebrate another Scudetto.

Terracciano produced a sharp double save to prevent Martin Caceres scoring an own goal and deny Lukaku in a bright start for Inter.

Terracciano again showed sharp reflexes to tip Nicolo Barella's rasping long-range drive wide for a corner before Lukaku rose unmarked to head Christian Eriksen's inviting cross against the far post from point-blank range with rain lashing down.

Lukaku spurned another great chance when he was left unmarked again, drilling straight at the busy Terracciano from six yards out after the Nerazzurri lost Stefan de Vrij to a sprained knee in a frustrating first half.

Antonio Candreva showed Lukaku how it is done when he volleyed home, but the flag was correctly up for offside and Sanchez's strike was tipped onto the post by Terracciano as the opening goal remained elusive.

Lautaro Martinez came on with just over 20 minutes remaining, but only the alertness of Samir Handanovic to keep out a close-range effort from Pol Lirola stopped Fiorentina snatching all three points.

What does it mean? Inter set to fall short

Inter only have themselves to blame for dropping points for the second successive game, having rescued a 2-2 draw courtesy of a late Lukaku penalty at Roma last time out.

Realistically they are highly unlikely to catch Juve, as they trail the leaders by seven points and Maurizio Sarri's men have a game in hand.

The Bianconeri will be the Serie A champions for a ninth straight season if they defeat Udinese on Thursday.

While it was not an evening Inter will want to remember, Terracciano added some highlights to his showreel. The fired-up Fiorentina goalkeeper was commanding throughout, showcasing his shot-stopping ability and excellent handling with eight saves to stretch his team's unbeaten run to six games.

Lukaku has scored 27 goals in all competitions in his first season at Inter, but he was anything but clinical after coming back into the starting line-up. The former Manchester United striker snatched at first-half opportunities and ought to have had the game wrapped up by the interval.

Key Opta Facts

- Inter have drawn a league match against Fiorentina for the first time since November 1996 (2-2).

- Fiorentina have picked up 12 points in their past six Serie A games; one fewer than in their previous 11.

- Inter have hit the post seven times in their past nine league games, as many as in their previous 23.

What's next?

Inter travel to relegation-threatened Genoa on Saturday, with the Viola travelling to the capital to do battle with Roma.

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