European roundup: Romelu Lukaku’s quick start sets up Inter win over Genoa

Romelu Lukaku scored after just 32 seconds as Internazionale maintained their title charge with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Genoa at San Siro.

With Milan playing Roma in Sunday’s late game, Antonio Conte’s side had an opportunity to pull seven points clear, and pile pressure on their local rivals. They got off to the perfect start when Lukaku immediately drove through the visiting defence to score his 18th league goal of the season.

Nicolò Barella’s curling strike hit the bar and Lukaku saw his effort saved by Mattia Perin as Inter searched for a second goal. They had to wait until the 69th minute for a second as Lukaku teed up Matteo Darmian who drilled home. Alexis Sánchez became the third former Manchester United player on the scoresheet when he headed home after Lukaku’s shot was saved.

Earlier, Atalanta won 2-0 at Sampdoria to move into fourth place, level on points with Juventus, thanks to goals from Ruslan Malinovskyi and Robin Gosens. The new Cagliari coach, Leonardo Semplici, oversaw a 2-0 win at Crotone to end their 16-match winless league run, while Ilija Nestorovski’s late header earned Udinese a 1-0 win over Fiorentina.

Schalke sack Gross as relegation looms

Bundesliga bottom club Schalke have sacked their coach, Christian Gross, and several club officials including sports director Jochen Schneider. Peter Knaebel will take over on an interim basis and will be the club’s fifth head coach this season.

David Wagner, Manuel Baum and briefly Huub Stevens have all failed to arrest the team’s slide towards relegations, with Gross the only manager to earn a league win – against Hoffenheim in January. The former Tottenham manager has lost seven out of 10 league games since taking over in December.

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“The decisions taken are unavoidable after our disappointing performances against Stuttgart and Dortmund,” board chairman Jens Buchta said in a statement. Schalke lost those games 5-1 and 4-0, and sit nine points off a relegation play-off place.

In Sunday’s games, Max Kruse’s ninth-minute penalty was cancelled out by a Nico Schlotterbeck own goal as Union Berlin were held at home by Hoffenheim, while André Hahn’s 25th-minute winner for Augsburg left hosts Mainz in the bottom two.