Simone Inzaghi revelled in "one of the best games" of his Inter tenure after the Nerazzurri roared back from a goal down to beat Lazio in an absorbing contest at San Siro.

Inzaghi looked set to suffer defeat against his former club when Felipe Anderson fired the visitors ahead, but three goals in the final 13 minutes turned the game on its head.

Two one-on-one finishes from substitute Lautaro Martinez – coming either side of Robin Gosens' acrobatic strike – ensured Inter leapfrogged Milan and Roma to move into Serie A's top four.

Lazio's defeat had handed runaway leaders Napoli the opportunity to clinch their first Scudetto since the Diego Maradona era on Sunday, but Luciano Spalletti's men were made to wait after they could only draw 1-1 with Salernitana.

Inzaghi believed Inter's victory was richly deserved even after seeing them fall behind, telling Sky Sport in Italy: "This was one of the best games since I've been here.

"At the end of the first half, I told my players that they should continue to play like that. We were down but we had put in a great performance after a very busy Wednesday.

"Let's not forget that we were playing against the team second in the table. Today, I saw a really beautiful Inter team."

Martinez's brace – his first in Serie A since January – was accompanied by a pair of assists from fellow striker Romelu Lukaku, who has started to hit form following a frustrating start to his loan spell.

With a huge Champions League semi-final tie against Milan to come, Inzaghi is unable to split his four forwards, with Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa also competing for a starting spot.

Asked which duo were ahead in the battle to start, Inzaghi said: "Inter's four starters at the moment are Lautaro, Lukaku, Correa and Dzeko. 

"If you look at the playing time of the last few games, they've alternated and given each other great satisfaction. 

"Right now we saw Lautaro's two great goals. If we didn't have to play like we did before December, we would always have had Lautaro like this.

"I have high hopes because he's an extraordinary guy, with the way he works."

Romelu Lukaku scored twice and assisted another as Inter snapped a five-game winless run in Serie A with a 3-0 victory against lowly Empoli at Stadio Carlo Castellani on Sunday.

Inter booked their place in the Champions League semi-finals in midweek, but their poor domestic form – coupled with Juventus' points reprieve – had seen them drop to sixth. 

Simone Inzaghi's heavily rotated side took time to get going against Empoli, but Lukaku gave them a 48th-minute lead with his first league goal from open play since August.

Lukaku fired in another in the 76th minute and then teed up substitute Lautaro Martinez late on to seal the points that lift Inter up to fifth – temporarily at least – and within two points of fourth-placed Roma, who face Atalanta on Monday.

Samir Handanovic was one of those recalled between Inter's two cup ties and was equal to efforts from Nicolo Cambiaghi and Tommaso Baldanzi in the opening 20 minutes.
 
Roberto Gagliardini fired over from range as Inter struggled to create anything of note in a low-key first half, but Inter got their breakthrough three minutes into the second period.

Through his first sight of goal, Lukaku guided a precise shot away from Samuele Perisan into the bottom-left corner for just his fourth league strike of the campaign.

Empoli, now with just one win in 12 league games, offered little in response and fell further behind when Lukaku worked a yard of space and fired an angled shot past Perisan.

Lukaku was not finished there as he carried the ball forward and played in Martinez to convert from one-on-one and complete the routine victory.

A Milan derby awaits in the Champions League semi-finals after Inter made it past Benfica with a 3-3 draw on Wednesday, sealing a 5-3 aggregate victory.

Following Milan's passage to the final four after they eliminated Napoli on Tuesday, Inter just had to see out their quarter-final second leg against the Lisbon side having taken a 2-0 lead into the clash at San Siro.

As he did in the first leg, Nicolo Barella gave Inter the lead with an excellent finish, before Fredrik Aursnes equalised for the visitors with a powerful header before half-time.

Lautaro Martinez put Inter back in front, before substitute Joaquin Correa added another with a fine effort, though late goals from Antonio Silva and Petar Musa meant Roger Schmidt's men at least ended their recent losing run.

Barella put the hosts in front in the 14th minute when the determined midfielder battled his way into the Benfica box after a one-two with Martinez, before cutting onto his left foot and finishing splendidly into the top left corner.

Martinez had a goal ruled out in the 33rd minute after his header at the far post squirmed under Odisseas Vlachodimos, with the Benfica goalkeeper relieved to see a foul given against the Argentine for a push on Gilberto.

From nowhere though, Benfica were level in the game after Rafa Silva's perfect cross from the right allowed Aursnes to send a bullet header past Andre Onana seven minutes before the break.

Inter effectively ended their opponent's hopes when they scored a second in the 65th minute. Federico Dimarco played a one-two on the left with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, before crossing for Martinez to finish into the roof of the net

Correa scored a third for Inter just two minutes after coming off the bench as he cut inside from the left and bent an effort in off the far post.

Antonio Silva headed in for the visitors from an inswinging Alex Grimaldo free-kick before Musa swept in a loose ball to equalise, but the Nerazzurri confirmed they will face their city rivals in the semi-finals.

Lionel Messi scored his 100th international goal before capping his performance with a first-half hat-trick as Argentina routed Curacao 7-0 during Tuesday's friendly in Santiago del Estero.

Messi came into the game on 99 international goals but did not need to wait long to bring up triple figures, netting a 20th-minute opener, in a lopsided match-up where the world champions raced to a 5-0 half-time lead.

The Argentinian captain played the entire 90 minutes, scoring three goals within 17 devastating first-half minutes, while he also laid off the assist for Enzo Fernandez's powerful strike among the flurry.

Messi was denied early on by Curacao goalkeeper Eloy Room's sharp save, but soon after Giovani Lo Celso found him in space inside the box, setting him up to jink past two defenders and fire in a low right-foot shot for his 100th Argentina goal.

Nicolas Gonzalez added a second in the 23rd minute when he out-jumped Room to head home from a corner, before he played provider for Messi's second with a neat left-foot finish in the 33rd minute.

Two minutes later, Messi held up the ball and dished out a deft pass for Fernandez to lash home, with the Paris Saint-Germain star wrapping up his hat-trick when he raced on to Lo Celso's lofted pass and coolly converted after taking two touches.

Room brilliantly denied Lautaro Martinez twice early in the second half, while Leandro Bacuna fizzed Curacao's best chance over the bar from a 63rd-minute free-kick on the edge of the box.

Substitute Angel Di Maria added a sixth goal from the penalty spot in the 78th minute after Cuco Martina's handball, with Gonzalo Montiel side-footing home another from Paulo Dybala's cutback in the 88th minute.

M'Bala Nzola's late penalty punished wasteful Inter and gave Serie A strugglers Spezia a shock 2-1 victory on Friday.

The Nerazzurri's slim title hopes are surely over after they were beaten by relegation-threatened Spezia for the first time at Stadio Alberto Picco.

Bartlomiej Dragowski saved an early Lautaro Martinez penalty, and that was a sign of things to come as toothless second-placed Inter dominated the majority of the game but lacked a cutting edge.

Daniel Maldini, on loan from Inter's fierce rivals Milan, put Spezia in front just under 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute at half-time, but Romelu Lukaku's late spot-kick looked to have salvaged a point.

Nzola had the final say by slotting home from 12 yards out after Denzel Dumfries barged Viktor Kovalenko over, ensuring Inter remain 15 points behind runaway leaders Napoli.

 

 

 

 

Inter moved back to second place in Serie A after Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lautaro Martinez were on target in a 2-0 victory over Lecce on Sunday.

Simone Inzaghi's side underwhelmed in a 1-0 defeat to Bologna last weekend but produced a much-improved performance to return to winning ways at San Siro.

Mkhitaryan's first-half opener set Inter on their way before top scorer Martinez's 14th league goal of the season made sure of the three points in the second half.

Victory saw Inzaghi's men leapfrog Lazio and cut Napoli's sizeable advantage at the summit to 15 points after the Partenopei lost to Maurizio Sarri's side on Friday.

Hakan Calhanoglu stung the palms of Wladimiro Falcone, while Andre Onana kept out a low Assan Ceesay drive in an opening bereft of clear-cut chances.

Edin Dzeko headed narrowly wide from Calhanoglu's corner soon after, before Mkhitaryan delivered the first moment of quality for his 29th-minute opener.

The midfielder swept a right-footed finish from Nicola Barella's offload into the top-right corner after the Italy international evaded two challenges inside the area.

Martinez finished in similarly clinical fashion after 53 minutes, brushing Denzel Dumfries' low right-wing centre past Falcone to double Inter's lead.

Dzeko fired another presentable opportunity straight at Falcone and Alessandro Bastoni dragged wide as an insipid Lecce never threatened a late response.

 

What does it mean? Inter encouragement after another Lecce win

Defeat to Bologna last Sunday left Inzaghi and Martinez furious, with the pair warning Inter will achieve nothing with such poor performances.

The Nerazzurri responded with a dominant showing, though, as they won a ninth straight Serie A home game against Lecce, scoring 22 times in that run.

A Scudetto challenge may be off the cards but Inter can take encouragement from this display with the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie, which they lead 1-0, at Porto to come on March 14.

Classy Calhanoglu

While Mkhitaryan scored in two consecutive home appearances in Serie A for the first time since May 2021 for Roma and Martinez once again impressed, Calhanoglu also deserves credit.

The Turkey midfielder was central to all of Inter's attacking promise as he created four chances – no player managed more.

Dire Dzeko

Dzeko was preferred up top by Inzaghi as he replaced Romelu Lukaku in the starting XI but the Bosnia and Herzegovina international failed to take his chance.

The striker missed a great first-half opportunity to compound his miserable run in front of goal, having scored just twice in 14 appearances in 2023.

What's next?

Inter visit relegation-threatened Spezia on Friday, while Lecce host Torino two days later.

Speculation about Mohamed Salah's future at Liverpool has re-ignited amid the Reds underwhelming campaign.

Liverpool appear destined for a last-16 Champions League exit after losing the first leg 5-2 at home to Real Madrid, while they are down in seventh in the Premier League.

The Reds are nine points outside the top-four league spots to earn Champions League qualification for next term.

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WILLING TO OFFLOAD SALAH

Mohamed Salah is willing to leave Liverpool if they fail to qualify for next season's Champions League while the Reds are open to selling him, claims Fichajes.

Football Insider claims Paris Saint-Germain are keen on the Egyptian, who is contracted with Liverpool until mid-2025, and will bid €80 million (£70.6m) for his services.

Liverpool may be open to offers for Salah given their wealth of forward options as Jurgen Klopp looks to revamp his squad, with their intended pursuit of Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, who is expected to cost more than €110m (£97m).

 

ROUND-UP

– Inter forward Lautaro Martinez is garnering interest from Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United, reports TEAMtalk. The 25-year-old Argentinian is contracted until mid-2026.

– Like Arsenal, Manchester United are weighing up a move for Celta Vigo midfielder Gabri Veiga, claims AS. The 20-year-old is believed to be priced around £26m (€30m).

– Fabrizio Romano reports Liverpool's Naby Keita may join Barcelona as a free agent at the end of this season, although he clarified "nothing is serious yet".

– Napoli will rival Liverpool in the race to sign Empoli's 19-year-old attacking midfielder Tommaso Baldanzi, claims Calciomercato.

– RMC Sport reports Paris Saint-Germain will not axe head coach Christophe Galtier before the end of the season, following reports of a move for Thomas Tuchel to replace him.

– Liverpool are considering a swap deal for Milan's Rafael Leao involving Luis Diaz, while PSG are in the race for the Portuguese's signature, according to Calciomercato.

Lautaro Martinez bemoaned Inter's Serie A form this season after they slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat against Bologna, with the forward insistent they have to change.

A Riccardo Orsolini half-volley saw the visitors downed on the road at Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, to leave them 18 points adrift of Napoli in the top-flight.

Having lost the Scudetto to rivals Milan last term, the San Siro outfit had hoped to mount a serious challenge to reclaim their crown this season.

But with any challenge all but long gone amid their indifferent form, Martinez acknowledged something has to shift for Simone Inzaghi's side.

"It would be wrong to talk too much in the heat of the moment," he told Sky Sport Italia. "But the sensation I have right now is that we'll get nowhere playing like this.

"We need to be more consistent. We just played a great game in the Champions League. We arrive here fired up and then [we] put in this performance.

"We've got to get our heads up and push forward, because we will get nowhere like this."

"Bologna are a good side. They played better than us today and deserved the win. We need to be more consistent, like we were against Porto.

"I am here to apologise to all the Inter fans. If I feel the need to say something, then I say it. We are 18 points behind Napoli, so clearly something is not working."

Inter next face a trip to Lecce, followed by a home clash against Spezia ahead of their second leg with Porto in the Champions League.

Simone Inzaghi conceded runaway Serie A leaders Napoli are unreachable for Inter after expressing disappointment for a wasteful performance at Sampdoria.

Inter trail the in-form Napoli by 15 points at the Italian top-flight summit after being held to a goalless draw by strugglers Sampdoria on Monday at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium.

The Nerazzurri attempted 25 shots in a one-sided contest, the first time Inter have recorded as many shots without scoring in a Serie A match since February 2022 (29 at home to Sassuolo).

Inzaghi's side have failed to score in two of their past four Serie A matches, as many times as in their previous 31 matches in the competition, and the Inter head coach acknowledged his team's shortfalls.

"It's normal to be disappointed, we wanted another result – we didn't underestimate the game," he told DAZN. "We had a good first half, less the second.

"There were many chances created against a team that gave everything on the pitch. We had to make the most of them.

"There is regret because the boys played the match in the right way, playing it as we had prepared for it. We had to be calmer and capitalise on the opportunities better."

When asked if Luciano Spalletti's Napoli were uncatchable, Inzaghi responded: "Definitely that, but we have to look only at our progress.

"We came from three victories in a row and tonight we wanted to achieve a different result. There is a lot of bitterness as it should be."

Lautaro Martinez spurned a glorious last-minute opportunity after a scramble inside the area, with second-bottom Sampdoria hanging on for a vital point.

The Argentina international attempted six shots without finding the net, the most efforts he has managed in a match without scoring in Serie A since facing Sampdoria on May 22 last year.

But Inzaghi was not unhappy with what he saw from his strikers Martinez and Romelu Lukaku before a late cameo from veteran Edin Dzeko.

"Lukaku is working a lot more and more every day, he needs playing time," he added. "Lautaro and Dzeko are doing great things.

"Tonight [Lukaku] held the ball well, he could have scored with a dirtier shot then he dropped a bit in the second half."

Lukaku and Nicolo Barella could be seen arguing in a frustrating first half, with the striker waving his finger at the Italy international after a disagreement.

"They had this squabble in front of my bench, these are things I don't like but we talked about it at the end of the first half and it was all already resolved," Inzaghi continued.

"But it certainly shouldn't happen again because it's not a pretty sight. They are things on the pitch, probably with a victory would not have even been talked about."

Lautaro Martinez's purple patch continued as Inter consigned sorry Milan to a fourth successive defeat with a 1-0 derby victory.

The in-form Martinez, handed the captain's armband by Simone Inzaghi, took his goal tally for the season to 15 by opening the scoring with a header in a totally one-sided first half at San Siro on Sunday.

Milan failed to register a shot on target in a lacklustre display that increased their winless run to seven matches, putting more pressure on head coach Stefano Pioli.

Second-placed Inter moved five points clear of their city rivals behind runaway Serie A leaders Napoli, with the Rossoneri down in sixth spot as their dismal start to the year continued.

Martinez forced a magnificent reflex save from Ciprian Tatarusanu and also headed just wide in a blistering start from the Nerazzurri.

Inzaghi's side were dominant, but referee Davide Massa correctly refused to award them a penalty when Edin Dzeko went down too easily under a challenge from Matteo Gabbia.

It seemed to be only a matter of time before Inter were in front, though, and the opening goal duly arrived in the 34th minute, when the lively Martinez rose above Simon Kjaer to nod in Hakan Calhanoglu's corner from the left.

It remained one-way traffic following the break, Tatarusanu palming away Martinez's shot at his near post after Pioli introduced Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers.

Olivier Giroud finally had Milan's first attempt after 57 minutes, but his header sailed over the crossbar and was never going to trouble Andre Onana.

Further goals instead appeared more likely at the other end.

Romelu Lukaku had one ruled out when he was deemed to have dragged down Malick Thiaw, and Martinez had another chalked off for a marginal offside, but his first-half finish proved decisive.

 

Simone Inzaghi will not "waste time imagining what happens in the future" amid speculation over Milan Skriniar's future at Inter.

Defender Skriniar missed Saturday's trip to lowly Cremonese through suspension, though his absence was not felt too keenly as Inter recovered from an early setback to win 2-1 thanks to Lautaro Martinez's double.

The centre-back has been repeatedly linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain, but with just over three days of the transfer window remaining, Inzaghi is not worrying about losing Skriniar.

"That is not a question for me, it is for directors [Giuseppe] Marotta and [Piero] Ausilio," Inzaghi told DAZN.

"Milan is a great professional, he is here at the moment and trains to his best. I cannot waste time imagining what happens in the future."

Inter were well worth their win at Cremonese, who are yet to secure a victory in Serie A this season.

Inzaghi's side had 30 shots and got 10 of those on target, albeit they relied on the quality of Martinez to get over the line.

Martinez moved onto double figures for the season with his 21st-minute equaliser, when he reacted sharply to turn home a rebound from Edin Dzeko's volley.

The forward has now scored at least 10 Serie A goals in four separate seasons with Inter, becoming only the third foreign player to achieve that feat in the club's history.

Dzeko supplied the pass for Martinez's second-half winner, and Inzaghi hailed the duo's partnership.

"They are fantastic," the coach said. "They are doing very well but [Joaquin] Correa and [Romelu] Lukaku are also returning to get back in good shape.

"They played about 20 minutes and the team will need them because Edin and Lauti can't play all the games."

Inter moved up to second with their victory, but having lost to Empoli on Monday they are a distant 10 points behind runaway leaders Napoli.

"It was tough against a Cremonese side that in the last few days had knocked Napoli out of the Coppa Italia and picked up a point in Bologna," Inzaghi said.

"I am very happy with the character shown by my team, as after a nasty defeat, conceding an early goal against the run of play could have been really damaging."

Despite Napoli's advantage at the summit of Serie A, Martinez is not giving up on the Scudetto.

He told DAZN: "We are racing only against ourselves, as we dropped a lot of points, it's a big gap at the top and Napoli play [on Sunday].

"We must be calm, focus on ourselves and continue to improve."

Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter came from behind to get back on track in Serie A with a 2-1 victory over lowly Cremonese.

Martinez netted either side of the interval in Saturday's Lombardy derby at Giovanni Zini Stadium.

With a sharp finish having cancelled out David Okereke's sensational opener in the first half, Martinez lashed home from inside the area in the 65th minute.

The victory took Inter onto 40 points and, temporarily at least, into second place, though runaway leaders Napoli hold a 10-point lead.

Inter's bright start failed to produce a true chance, and they were stunned by an incredible 11th-minute opener when Okereke curled a sublime strike in off the underside of the crossbar.

Yet Cremonese's lead lasted just 10 minutes, with Martinez reacting sharply to turn home after Marco Carnesecchi parried Edin Dzeko's volley.

Andre Onana's save prevented Marco Benassi's close-range flick restoring Cremonese's lead, before Martinez drilled just wide at the other end.

Martinez snatched at another chance before the break, sending a tame rebound at Carnesecchi following Federico Dimarco's shot.

Carnesecchi was called into action again following the restart to ensure Dimarco's cross did not find its way in, but Inter kept on the pressure and were rewarded with 25 minutes remaining – Dzeko slipping in Martinez, who hammered beyond Carnesecchi.

Martinez made way for Joaquin Correa soon after with his work done, though Matteo Darmian's last-ditch block from Cristian Buonaiuto's scuffed attempt was required to ensure Inter headed home with the three points.

 

What does it mean? More misery for winless Cremonese

Cremonese became only the second side since Serie A returned to a 20-team league (2004-05) to have failed to win a match in the first half of the season (after Hellas Verona in 2015-16) – and despite their best efforts, that victory still eludes them with 20 games of the campaign accounted for.

They did forge some chances, having 12 shots and getting four on target, but on the balance of play the result was a fair one. Inter finished with 2.5 expected goals (xG) and had 30 attempts, while home goalkeeper Carnesescchi made eight saves, including an excellent stop late on from Denzel Dumfries, as well as having to pick the ball out of his net twice.

Double figures for Martinez, again

With Romelu Lukaku desperately out of form – he has now failed to score in seven Serie A appearances after replacing Dzeko, his worst run in the competition – Inter at least have Martinez to call on.

Martinez's double took him to 11 league goals for the season, making him the third foreign player in Inter's history to hit double figures in Serie A in at least four seasons, after Stefano Nyers and Mauro Icardi.

The Argentina forward has now been involved in 13 goals in his last 10 Serie A games against promoted opponents, scoring 11 and setting up two more. He also netted in the reverse fixture back in August.

Okereke fades after stunning start

It was a quite superb opener from Cremonese forward Okereke, who gave Onana little chance with his excellent finish, catching Inter off guard.

However, the 25-year-old struggled to keep himself in the game from then on, and when he went off in the 72nd minute, that was the only shot he had managed, while he also conceded three fouls and lost possession 12 times.

Key Opta facts

– With his latest exploits, Martínez became the first player to score 10 or more goals in each of the last four Serie A campaigns.
– Inter have conceded 21 goals in 10 away matches in Serie A this season. They have never conceded more after the same number of games in a Serie A campaign, shipping 21 also in 1947-48, in 1931-32 and in 1930-31.
- Only Salernitana (25) have conceded more goals than Inter in away matches in Serie A this season. The Nerazzurri have conceded in each of their last 14 league away games, their longest such streak in Serie A since 1988 (18 games under Giovanni Trapattoni).

What's next?

Inter host Atalanta in a Coppa Italia quarter-final on Tuesday, with Cremonese facing Roma in the same competition a day later.

Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter came from behind to get back on track in Serie A with a 2-1 victory over lowly Cremonese.

Martinez netted either side of the interval in Saturday's Lombardy derby at Giovanni Zini Stadium.

With a sharp finish having cancelled out David Okereke's sensational opener in the first half, Martinez lashed home from inside the area in the 65th minute.

The victory took Inter onto 40 points and, temporarily at least, into second place, though runaway leaders Napoli hold a 10-point lead.

Inter's bright start failed to produce a true chance, and they were stunned by an incredible 11th-minute opener when Okereke curled a sublime strike in off the underside of the crossbar.

Yet Cremonese's lead lasted just 10 minutes, with Martinez reacting sharply to turn home after Marco Carnesecchi parried Edin Dzeko's volley.

Andre Onana's save prevented Marco Benassi's close-range flick restoring Cremonese's lead, before Martinez drilled just wide at the other end.

Martinez snatched at another chance before the break, sending a tame rebound at Carnesecchi following Federico Dimarco's shot.

Carnesecchi was called into action again following the restart to ensure Dimarco's cross did not find its way in, but Inter kept on the pressure and were rewarded with 25 minutes remaining – Dzeko slipping in Martinez, who hammered beyond Carnesecchi.

Martinez made way for Joaquin Correa soon after with his work done, though Matteo Darmian's last-ditch block from Cristian Buonaiuto's scuffed attempt was required to ensure Inter headed home with the three points.

Inter retained their Supercoppa Italiana crown with a convincing 3-0 victory over fierce rivals Milan at King Fahd International Stadium on Wednesday.

Simone Inzaghi's side have been in far better form than Milan since the World Cup break and that showed in Riyadh as they raced into a two-goal lead inside 21 minutes.

Federico Dimarco finished off a flowing team move and Edin Dzeko, who played a pivotal role in that opener, added a second to put Inter in command.

Last season's Coppa Italia winners Inter added a third in the 77th minute through Lautaro Martinez to seal a seventh Supercoppa triumph, drawing them level with Milan's tally.

 

Dzeko played a delightful first-time pass into the feet of Nicolo Barella, who in turn squared to Milan-born Dimarco for a simple finish for Inter's 10th-minute opener.

That goal was allowed to stand following a VAR check, with semi-automatic offside technology being used for the first time in Italian football ahead of its roll-out in Serie A.

Inter added a second through a well-taken Dzeko goal after the striker collected the ball down the left, skipped inside Sandro Tonali and swept a shot past Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Not since Roma against Inter in 2006 had a team struck twice inside the opening 25 minutes of a Supercoppa Italiana match, and Milan could not find a route back into the game.

After sitting back for most of the second half, Inter added some gloss to the scoreline when Fikayo Tomori failed to clear a long ball and Martinez finished with the outside of his boot.

Lautaro Martinez believes Inter can still catch runaway leaders Napoli in the Scudetto race but recognises the Nerazzurri cannot afford mistakes during the second half of the season.

The Argentina forward was the match winner against Hellas Verona on Saturday, with a third-minute strike – his ninth goal of the campaign – enough to secure a narrow 1-0 victory at San Siro.

Simone Inzaghi's side subsequently moved level with third-placed Juventus, although they still trail Napoli by 10 points after 18 matches.

Nevertheless, Martinez is confident the Nerazzurri have plenty of time to chase down the Partenopei.

"We knew that this would be a game like this, tough, as Verona man-mark all over the pitch," Martinez told Sky Sport Italia. "We scored early and then did what we had prepared. It was important to get all three points today.

"It is possible [to catch Napoli] as there is a long way to go yet. But we have to make no more mistakes; we need to get every point going or they will be too far away."

The Verona match was Inter's fourth in the space of 11 days, a sequence that began with a victory over Napoli.

Most recently, on Tuesday, Inter had been taken to extra time by Parma in the Coppa Italia, and Inzaghi felt the quick turnaround took its toll.

"We were coming off 120 minutes played on Tuesday, but the team remained sharp," Inzaghi said. 

"We scored early and then, despite a little tension in the closing stages, we remained solid and focused without suffering much against a Verona side that could cause us problems.

"I was concerned by our fitness levels with [Hakan] Calhanoglu and [Nicolo] Barella, who pushed themselves so hard to be available today. 

"They were in doubt until yesterday, while [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Roberto] Gagliardini and [Kristjan] Asllani really helped out in these games with their midfield performances."

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