Inter Milan's head coach Simone Inzaghi, left. celebrates after the...

Inter Milan's head coach Simone Inzaghi, left. celebrates after the end of the Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Genoa at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 4, 2024. Credit: AP/Luca Bruno

MILAN — It’s becoming more and more a matter of when and not if Inter Milan will be crowned Serie A champion.

Inter beat Genoa 2-1 on Monday and extended its lead to 15 points over second-placed Juventus, which lost to Napoli the previous evening.

It was a 12th straight win for Inter — a run dating to December and a draw at Genoa. The Nerazzurri also have the best attack and defense in Europe’s top five leagues.

Genoa had lost only one of its previous 11 matches and was also one of only four sides not to have lost to Inter this season.

In an end-to-end match, Inter broke the deadlock on the half hour mark with a great team move. Nicolò Barella picked out Alexis Sánchez, who sent the ball through to Kristjan Asllani and the Albania midfielder fired powerfully into the roof of the net for his first Nerazzurri goal.

Sánchez got on the scoresheet himself eight minutes later when he converted a penalty, which was controversially awarded for a foul by Genoa defender Morten Frendrup on Barella.

Referee Giovanni Ayroldi was told to look at the incident again by the VAR, as it appeared Barella had already taken the shot and hit the side netting before Frendrup’s sliding tackle, and the official confirmed his decision after reviewing it on the pitchside monitor.

Inter Milan's Federico Dimarco reacts during a Serie A soccer...

Inter Milan's Federico Dimarco reacts during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Genoa at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 4, 2024. Credit: AP/Luca Bruno

It was Sanchez’s first Serie A goal since the Chile forward returned to Inter from Marseille in August.

Genoa got back into the match nine minutes into the second half. Inter defender Stefan de Vrij headed a ball clear but only as far as Johan Vázquez on the edge of the area and he volleyed into the bottom right corner.

The visitors thought they levelled in the 66th but Mateo Retegui’s strike was disallowed for offside.

There was further good news for Inter as Marcus Thuram returned from injury. The France forward has had a stunning first season in Italy, notching 10 goals and seven assists, and had played in all of Inter’s matches before getting injured in last month’s 1-0 victory over Atletico Madrid.

Inter Milan's Kristjan Asllani, center rear, celebrates after scoring against...

Inter Milan's Kristjan Asllani, center rear, celebrates after scoring against Genoa during a Serie A soccer match between Inter Milan and Genoa at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, Monday, March 4, 2024. Credit: AP/Luca Bruno

The second leg of that Champions League round-of-16 matchup is on March 13.

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