*

upload_article_image

Inter beats Cagliari 1-0 to restore 11-point lead

Inter Milan continued its march to its first Serie A title in more than a decade as it beat relegation-threatened Cagliari 1-0 on Sunday.

Defender Matteo Darmian scored the only goal of the match in the 77th minute as Inter found it tougher than expected against a side fighting for Serie A survival.

Coach Antonio Conte ran onto the pitch to celebrate with his players as the goal restored Inter's 11-point advantage over second-place AC Milan, which won 3-1 at Parma on Saturday.

Inter Milan's Matteo Darmian, right, controls the ball before scoring the opening goal, during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Third-place Juventus hosts Genoa later. Victory would still leave the nine-time defending champion 12 points behind Inter, which is bidding for a first league title since 2010.

Cagliari remained five points from safety.

The Sardinian side was without first-choice goalkeeper Alessio Cragno after he contracted the coronavirus on Italy duty so Guglielmo Vicario made his Serie A debut.

Inter Milan's Matteo Darmian, right, celebrates with teammate Inter Milan's Achraf Hakimi after scoring the opening goal during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

His first save was a tough one in the 11th minute but he managed to push Christian Eriksen’s powerful attempt out.

Inter had the best chances but Vicario managed to keep the score goalless while at the other end Samir Handanović was barely tested.

Stefan de Vrij headed a corner off the bar in the 69th and Inter finally found the breakthrough shortly after. Achraf Hakimi played a one-two with Romelu Lukaku on the right side of the area before rolling across for Darmian to slide in at the back post and fire in from close range.

Inter Milan's Matteo Darmian celebrates after scoring the opening goal during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Inter Milan's Matteo Darmian, right, celebrates with teammates Inter Milan's Alessandro Bastoni, center, and Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Inter Milan's head coach Antonio Conte, right, gives indications to his players during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Cagliari's Diego Godin, left, and Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku vie for the ball during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Cagliari at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Sunday, April 11, 2021. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)