Martinez reaction was 'excessive', Inter assistant Stellini accepts

By Sports Desk January 26, 2020

Lautaro Martinez has been warned to control his anger by Inter assistant coach Cristian Stellini after his "excessive" reaction earned him a red card in the ill-tempered 1-1 draw with Cagliari.

The Argentina international scored the opener in Sunday's clash in San Siro but was later sent off for dissent as Inter were held to a third successive Serie A draw.

Martinez reacted angrily to a decision that went against him, earning a yellow card from referee Gianluca Manganiello and then a straight red swiftly followed for something he said. 

Inter's players had to hold the 22-year-old back and he is now facing a ban in a further blow to the Nerazzurri's hopes of winning the Scudetto.

Antonio Conte refused to speak to the media after the match, which saw Radja Nainggolan haunt his parent club with a late equaliser, but deputy Stellini stepped in and conceded Martinez went too far.

"It was excessive. He has to be careful," Stellini said at the post-match news conference. "It is important to us that he is available for games.

"He has to learn from what happened so it doesn't happen again."

Furious Inter boss Conte made his displeasure known to the referee at full-time, while substitute Tommaso Berni was also shown a red card, but skipper Samir Handanovic refused to blame the officials for yet more dropped points.

"The draw certainly wasn't down to the referee - we only complained because he didn't blow for fouls on our forwards, but always did for theirs," he told reporters.

"But we don't want to point fingers at anyone but ourselves. We lacked clarity and should have killed the game off earlier because we had plenty of chances to make it 2-0."

Martinez's suspension opens the door for Alexis Sanchez to return to the starting XI, the Chile international having been used mainly as a substitute since returning from injury this month, including an eight-minute cameo on Sunday.

Inter take on Fiorentina in the Coppa Italia quarter-finals on Wednesday and Stellini said: "We are expecting to lose Lautaro, so it could be an opportunity for Sanchez. There are lots of games to play."

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