Inter held by Lazio at title party as debt deadline looms, Sassuolo down

football19 May 2024 18:10| © AFP
article image
Inter Milan @ Getty images

Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by Lazio at Sunday's Serie A title party at the San Siro as the champions get set to lift the trophy with a major debt deadline leaving their future uncertain.

Denzel Dumfries secured a meaningless point for Inter with three minutes remaining by levelling Daichi Kamada's 32nd-minute opener for Lazio, who stay seventh but are level on 60 points with local rivals Roma who face Genoa in the day's late match.

Simone Inzaghi's team will care little about the result as the Scudetto was sealed weeks ago, but the trophy ceremony will take place against an uneasy backdrop as the club could be repossessed within a matter of days.

What was supposed to be a weekend of celebration has been overshadowed by the Tuesday deadline for the repayment of around 395 million euros ($429 million) to US fund Oaktree.

A source told AFP on Saturday that it was "unlikely" that Inter's Chinese owners Suning would be able to fulfil its obligation to Oaktree.

That means Oaktree could take control of the club in a similar manner to how AC Milan were acquired by another US fund, Elliott Management, six years ago.


Inter's sporting CEO Giuseppe Marotta put a brave face on the situation when speaking to broadcaster DAZN pre-match, saying that the club were in a "solid" position.

But a banner in the stands read "Thanks Steven", for president Steven Zhang, suggesting that fans have little faith in Suning staying on as owners.

Inter have won seven trophies, including two Serie A titles, and reached two European finals since Suning acquired the club in 2016.

Earlier, Sassuolo's 11-year stay in Serie A came to an end in dramatic fashion after they lost 2-0 to Cagliari and Udinese snatched a 1-1 draw with Empoli in the 14th minute of stoppage time.

Matteo Prati and Gianluca Lapadula ensured Cagliari of a place in Italy's top flight with goals in the 71st and 91st minutes in Reggio Emilia.

Sassuolo thought they still had a chance of fighting for survival on the final day of the season after M'Baye Niang's penalty gave Empoli a 90th-minute lead at Udinese.

But eight minutes later Jacopo Fazzi pulled back Roberto Pereyra just as the Argentine looked set to level for Udinese from close range.

And after a long VAR check, Lazar Samardzic thumped home the equaliser from the spot with the last kick of the game.

That draw and Frosinone winning 1-0 at Monza left second-from-bottom Sassuolo five points from Udinese, who sit one point above Empoli and the relegation zone, with one match remaining.