Inter 2-1 Sampdoria: Martinez on target as Conte's side close the gap

By Sports Desk June 21, 2020

Lautaro Martinez ended his mini goal drought as Inter moved six points behind Serie A leaders Juventus with a 2-1 win over Sampdoria at San Siro. 

First-half goals from Romelu Lukaku and Martinez saw Antonio Conte's side bounce back in style from their Coppa Italia semi-final aggregate defeat to Napoli. 

Lukaku netted after just 10 minutes following a one-two with Christian Eriksen, while Martinez - a rumoured target for Barcelona - swept home 12 minutes before half-time to register his first goal since January. 

Morten Thorsby pulled one back for Samp after the break, but Claudio Ranieri's men were unable to conjure up a leveller.

While this was Sampdoria's first game since March, Inter were back in action after their Coppa Italia clash last weekend and they unsurprisingly looked a slicker, sharper outfit. 

They had the ball in the net within two minutes but Antonio Candreva was adjudged offside before squaring for Eriksen to finish, not that they had to wait too much longer for a legitimate goal. 

Martinez's clever backheel found Lukaku and the Belgian coolly converted after a one-two with Eriksen for his 18th goal in Serie A this term. 

Lukaku celebrated by dropping to his knee and raising his fist to recognise the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Inter went into the break 2-0 up as Lukaku picked out Candreva, whose first-time ball across the six-yard box was tucked away by Martinez. 

After the break, Lukaku could only sweep a good chance wide following more good work from Eriksen and Inter went from coasting to concerned when Samp pulled one back in the 52nd minute. 

Omar Colley's initial header came back off the crossbar and Thorsby instinctively stuck his left leg out to poke the rebound back past Samir Handanovic. 

Inter's goalkeeper would not be beaten again, though, as the home side closed out the win. 

 

What does it mean? Impressive Inter still alive in title race 

Conte's men began the restart nine points adrift of leaders Juventus, and eight behind second-placed Lazio, so they cannot afford many, if any, slip-ups. 

A relatively routine victory, with both of their strikers getting goals, bodes well for the final dozen fixtures. 

Martinez lives up to the hype 

The three-month hiatus has only intensified transfer talk surrounding Martinez and Barcelona, and this was a display that showed both why the Blaugrana may be interested and why Inter are so keen to keep him. 

The 22-year-old came into this game having not scored in his previous six appearances but, having played a big part in Lukaku's opener before finding the net himself, he showed all the Barca talk is not affecting him. 

Gaston goes missing 

When facing an opponent like Inter, you expect your captain to step up. However, the game passed Sampdoria skipper Gaston Ramirez by. 

The playmaker had only four successful passes in his 69 minutes on the field and won just 21.1 per cent of his 19 duels, failing to hold the ball up when Samp needed a release from the first-half pressure.  

What's next? 

A home encounter with mid-table Sassuolo on Wednesday is next on the agenda for Inter. The tough fixtures continue for Sampdoria, though, as they visit Roma on the same day. 

Related items

  • Gasperini upbeat despite Atalanta heartbreak: Our president targets Serie A safety every year Gasperini upbeat despite Atalanta heartbreak: Our president targets Serie A safety every year

    While hurt and disappointed after a Champions League semi-final berth was snatched away at the death, Atalanta head coach Gian Piero Gasperini was in an upbeat mood, highlighting the fact that club president Antonio Percassi always targets 40 points to secure Serie A safety each season.

    Atalanta have been the Cinderella story of Italian and European football this term, breaking records during their third-place finish in Serie A and memorable run to the Champions League quarter-finals.

    Gasperini's Atalanta – competing in their first Champions League last-eight fixture – were moments away from an historic semi-final on Wednesday, however, Ligue 1 powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain completed a stunning turnaround to prevail 2-1 in Lisbon.

    Mario Pasalic's first-half strike looked to have settled the midweek contest, until Atalanta were left heartbroken – Marquinhos equalised in the 90th minute before substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting netted the winner in the third minute of stoppage time.

    "We are very disappointed, as we felt that we were almost in the semi-final," Gasperini told Sky Sport Italia. "That would've been extraordinary, but it's extraordinary anyway. We want to improve next season – probably not in results, which will be difficult, but as a team.

    "We finished third in Serie A for the second year running, but there are teams who were 10-12 points behind us who won't be in that position again. We will never start a season targeting the Scudetto, we aim to build and improve, then see how things go.

    "Our objectives are always set as time goes on. In fact, the president always starts out by saying we need 40 points to secure safety in Serie A! We raised the bar, and we're very happy to be back in the Champions League, as that is already a success."

    Gasperini, whose Atalanta scored a Serie A-high 98 goals in 2019-20, added: "The biggest regret is that we got so close and thought we really might achieve this extraordinary coup.

    "The satisfaction remains that we had a great Champions League campaign, constantly improving against the best teams in Europe. I can only thank the lads for all they've done this season.

    "It’s disappointing because we came so close. There are some of the best players in the world, [Kylian] Mbappe and Neymar, who at a certain point really sparked them into life.

    "We could've conceded earlier, in a way that might've been better, as conceding in stoppages hurts more. We did all we possibly could, at the end of a very difficult and exhausting run of fixtures, so I can only thank the lads.

    "The Champions League is a very special competition and I read a while back Jose Mourinho said it was the competition of details. Details make the difference when games are so balanced and can go one way or the other.

    "Despite everything, we reached the 90th minute in the lead. We were certainly well-prepared on set plays, there was that Berat Djimsiti chance, and could've done better on a couple of counter-attacks, but again, these are all details."

  • Sancho: I love playing for Borussia Dortmund Sancho: I love playing for Borussia Dortmund

    Jadon Sancho says he "loves" playing with Borussia Dortmund's current crop of players after his side cruised to a convincing 6-0 friendly win over Rheindorf Altach on Wednesday.

    Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc declared earlier this week that Manchester United target Sancho will remain at the German club for the 2020-21 campaign.

    England international Sancho, 20, is part of BVB's training camp in Switzerland and played 45 minutes against Austrian side Altach in their opening pre-season friendly.

    Lucien Favre fielded plenty of fresh faces at Stadion Schnabelholz and Sancho, into his fourth season at senior level, enjoyed playing with the next generation of young talent. 

    "I love playing with this lot," he told BVB-TV. "It is a special bunch. We've got some special young players coming up. I am really happy to share the pitch with them and guide them.

    "I was once in their shoes, playing with the seniors. I am happy for them."

    Fellow Englishman Jude Bellingham made his first appearance for Dortmund since joining from Birmingham City.

    The €25million signing set up goals for Gio Reyna and Erling Haaland and was pleased with his introduction to life with the German giants.

    "I loved every minute of it. It was a great first few minutes with the guys on the pitch," he said. "I really enjoyed it. The guys are so good, they made it easy for me. 

    "They played very well, even though it was the first game after the break. I am very happy to be part of this team."

    Haaland also registered a penalty while fellow senior pros Thorgan Hazard, Emre Can and Julian Brandt were on target in the final 15 minutes.

    But it was Bellingham who was singled out for special praise by Favre after his impressive debut display.

    "Jude Bellingham was good. He has to play in front of the defence," he said. "It's not easy when you're 17. He was involved in almost all of the goals. 

    "He moved forward at the right moments. This is important. He feels when he has to leave his position and has done well. 

    "It's important that we have midfielders who can speed up the game and make the final pass."

  • Southampton sign defender Salisu from Real Valladolid Southampton sign defender Salisu from Real Valladolid

    Southampton have completed the signing of centre-back Mohammed Salisu from Real Valladolid for a reported £10.9million (€12m).

    The 21-year-old, who made 32 appearances for Valladolid in all competitions in 2019-20, has signed a four-year deal at St Mary's Stadium.

    Salisu is Southampton's second signing of the close season following the arrival of Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham on Tuesday.

    Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were all linked with the highly rated defender, but he is pleased to have joined Ralph Hasenhuttl's side.

    "It is a very good feeling to be a Southampton player. I am very happy to be part of the club and I am looking forward to starting here," Salisu said in a Southampton statement.

    "Southampton is a club with a very rich history in developing young players, so it is a very good club for me to develop my skills and to learn a lot as a young player.

    "I know that the team expects a lot from me and I'm going to try to give all I can to help the team."

    Southampton finished 11th in the Premier League last season and are looking to rebuild, having also sold midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham for £20m.

    Hasenhuttl is pleased with his latest capture and is expecting Salisu to slot straight into the side. 

    "This is an important signing for us, Mohammed is a player who fits our profile well," the Austrian said.

    "He is young and has a great amount of potential, but he is also someone who has the qualities to come in and help the team as soon as he is up to speed with our way of playing.

    "I like what I have seen of him so far in his games with Valladolid. He is strong defensively, is calm with the ball - something that is important in our team - and he has good speed too.

    "I think he will fit in well with us and that this will be a good place for him to develop his game further. We have some good centre-backs here and this will be another strong option for us."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.