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Serie A title race is wide open

Serie A
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 By PA Sport

Inter Milan's Mauro Icardi: 'A hat trick in a derby is a special thing'

Match-winner Mauro Icardi was planning to keep the match ball close at hand after scoring a derby hat trick against AC Milan.

The Inter Milan skipper dispatched a nerveless 90th-minute penalty to secure a 3-2 victory at San Siro after his side had twice been pegged back.

He fired them into a 28th-minute lead and, after Suso had levelled, restored their advantage with 27 minutes remaining before winning the game at the death following goalkeeper Samir Handanovic's own goal.

Icardi told the club's official website: "I do not know if I will sleep with the hat trick ball -- I usually do not sleep after matches -- but I will keep it close because it is a special ball.

"A hat trick in a derby is a special thing.''

Icardi's intervention, which came after referee Paolo Tagliavento ruled that Ricardo Rodriguez had fouled Danilo D'Ambrosio inside the penalty area, settled a rip-roaring encounter and extended Inter's unbeaten start to the season.

It eased them into second place behind Napoli and 10 points clear of their city rivals, who have now lost four of their first eight league games.

However, no one within the Inter camp was getting carried away as manager Luciano Spalletti attempts to stamp his mark on the team.

Icardi said: "We are still at the beginning and we still have a lot to do. We are happy to be where we are -- that means we are doing things well.''

Milan boss Vincenzo Montella was perhaps understandably unhappy with the penalty decision.

He told La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Ricardo did not pull him down. He was very skilled, D'Ambrosio, and it makes me angry to lose in this way. I hope for a penalty like this in the next games.''

Milan currently sit in 10th place in the table, but Montella is confident things are starting to turn.

He said: "I'm proud of what the team has pulled out. We reacted with pride and showed Milan's soul.

"The effort has not been rewarded, but I'm very optimistic and even tonight, the glass is half full. I see a team that goes ahead with a precise game principle.''

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