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Serie A: Lukaku’s Double Against Napoli Helps Inter Stay Top

Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Inter Milan held on to top spot in Serie A on Monday.

The black and blue side of Milan recorded a 3-1 win over Napoli to keep the pressure on Juventus, who earlier swept past Cagliari with Cristiano Ronaldo netting his first hat-trick in the Italian top flight.

Antonio Conte’s Inter ended their 23-year wait for a league win in Naples to stay in pole position, level on points with Juventus after 18 games, but ahead on goal difference.

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Lazio are third, six points adrift, but with a game in hand, after stretching their winning run in the league to nine matches on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over Brescia.

The former Manchester United striker broke through the Napoli defense on 14 minutes with a powerful solo run to beat goalkeeper Alex Meret.

Meret fumbled another Lukaku strike into the net in the 33rd minute, as the Belgian took his tally to 14 league goals this season.

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Polish striker, Arkadiusz Milik, pulled a goal back for eighth-placed Napoli four minutes before the break.

But Lautaro Martinez added the third after the hour mark, following another mix-up in the Napoli defense, to give Inter their first win at the Stadio San Paolo since October 1997.

In Turin, Ronaldo struck for the fifth consecutive league game as the champions bounced back from their Italian Super Cup defeat to Lazio.

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“I’m happy with this first (league) hat-trick. But the important thing is the team, which played very well,” said Ronaldo, who brought his league tally to 13 goals in 15 games this season.

Cagliari held off Maurizio Sarri’s team in the first half, but the second half was all one-way traffic, with 34-year-old Ronaldo breaking the deadlock just after the interval.

The Portuguese striker added a second from the penalty spot on 67 minutes, then set up Gonzalo Higuain who came off the bench to strike a third nine minutes from time, before completing his hat-trick a minute later.

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Lukaku and Ronaldo’s feats overshadowed Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s return for AC Milan, as the Swedish star came off the bench in the 55th minute against Sampdoria.

The 38-year-old had not played since leaving the Major League Soccer side, LA Galaxy, in October.

He came on for Poland striker, Krzysztof Piatek, to deafening applause from the San Siro crowd after rejoining the club last week.

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But there was little else to cheer for the hosts, who extended their winless run to three games and remain 12th in the table.

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