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."

Lautaro Martinez scored the only goal as Inter made hard work of a 1-0 win over struggling Hellas Verona at San Siro.

Though the team effort was far from convincing, the Nerazzurri's in-form Argentina forward struck early to secure the narrow victory that moves them level on points with third-placed Juventus in Serie A.

Martinez has now netted three times in four appearances since his national team's World Cup success, while he took his league tally for the campaign to nine goals.

Meanwhile, Inter maintained their record of having never lost a top-flight match against Verona on home soil, where they have won each of their last eight games.

Inter broke through after just three minutes when the ball fell kindly for Martinez following Henrikh Mkhitaryan's promising burst into the Verona penalty area, and the striker neatly guided it into the far corner.

No side have scored more first-half goals than Inter in Serie A this season, and they looked to build on their strong start, Martinez heading straight at Lorenzo Montipo from Roberto Gagliardini's cross.

Referee Michael Fabbri waved away a penalty appeal from the hosts just before the break, despite Fabio Depaoli appearing to deflect Mkhitaryan's shot behind with his arm.

Inter thought they had doubled their advantage in the 63rd minute when Martinez brilliantly dinked the ball over the advancing Montipo, only to be denied for an earlier foul on Pawel Dawidowicz.

Winless in their previous 22 clashes with Inter since a 1-0 victory in February 1992, Verona went close to an equaliser when Sulemana's low drive from a tight angle called Andre Onana into action with 20 minutes remaining.

Substitute Kristjan Asllani almost put a seal on victory with a spectacular long-range effort, but Martinez's early strike proved enough for the hosts.

Simone Inzaghi praised his Inter players who "play less" despite coming within minutes of being eliminated from the Coppa Italia on Tuesday.

The holders trailed Serie B side Parma 1-0 with just three minutes remaining at San Siro, before Lautaro Martinez equalised and Francesco Acerbi headed in the winner in extra time to save their blushes and send them through to the quarter-finals.

The irony of Acerbi heading in the winner was not lost on Inzaghi after the centre-back's effort against Monza in their previous game was ruled out by the referee, causing consternation among the Inter camp as his whistle meant that the VAR could not intervene on what appeared to be a questionable call.

Inzaghi was not in the mood to dwell on the weekend's 2-2 draw in Serie A, instead praising the players who came in for cup duty and, eventually, delivered.

"The whole world saw what happened in Monza, but we were only interested in this game," the Nerazzurri head coach said. "We were doing fairly well even if we had to move the ball better. Then with their goal it got complicated, but I had an excellent response from those who play less.

"I would have liked to avoid extra time, but last year too with Empoli [3-2 win after extra time] it was difficult."

Inter trailed to a superb strike from substitute Stanko Juric in the 38th minute, and did not have a shot on target until Martinez forced an equaliser in the 88th.

In the second half of extra time, Acerbi reacted to a punched clearance from veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to head the ball over the 44-year-old and into the net.

Parma were the equals of their hosts for large parts of the contest, but Inzaghi insisted he was impressed by his team's effort.

"Those who have played the least have given excellent answers, we must continue like this," he added. "In the Champions League we have gone beyond expectations, in the league we lost points at the start, but there are many games to go."

Romelu Lukaku did not feature, but his coach believes the Belgium striker will have plenty to offer once they can get him fit and playing regularly.

"He remains fundamental for us," Inzaghi said. "He had an injury and had problems managing it. Saturday [v Monza] he was limited by his inflammatory problem. Tomorrow he will continue to rest, then day-by-day we would like to bring him back to the top. If we could have done that before, it would have given us the extra points we are missing."

Holders Inter are through to the quarter-finals of the Coppa Italia but had to survive a scare before eventually beating Serie B side Parma 2-1 after extra time at San Siro.

Stanko Juric's ferocious effort towards the end of the first half looked like it was going to be enough for Fabio Pecchia's team, before Lautaro Martinez found the equaliser with Inter's first shot on target in the 88th minute.

The Nerazzurri were holding on at times in extra time as well, before Francesco Acerbi won it with a fine header.

Simone Inzaghi made seven changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Monza on Saturday, with Danilo D'Ambrosio, Robin Gosens and Denzel Dumfries among those coming in, while Gianluigi Buffon started in goal for Parma, but the 44-year-old had very little to do for the first 87 minutes of the tie.

After a quiet opening, it was the Serie B side who took a surprise lead in the 38th minute when Adrian Bernabe's ball forward was flicked by Simon Sohm into the path of Juric, who had only been on the pitch for 12 minutes after replacing the injured Dennis Man, and he fired a rocket of a shot into the top right corner past the hopeful dive of Andre Onana.

As Inter continued to struggle to break Parma down in the second half, Inzaghi turned to his substitutes, including Edin Dzeko as he went for it with an attacking trio of the Bosnian alongside Martinez and Joaquin Correa, and it eventually paid off.

With just over two minutes of normal time remaining, a deep ball in from Kristjan Asllani was only cleared as far as Martinez, whose shot deflected off Yordan Osorio and past Buffon to the relief of the home fans and to force extra time, though not before the former Juventus keeper made a smart stop to deny Dzeko a late winner.

The impressive visitors took the game to Inter in the extra 30 minutes, with Antoine Hainaut firing just wide after intercepting a loose pass from Roberto Gagliardini, but Inter stepped it up in the second period and won it thanks to Acerbi after Buffon punched a Federico Dimarco cross straight to the waiting centre-back, who headed it back over him and into the net.

Simone Inzaghi was left "very angry" after Inter had a third goal chalked off before conceding a late equaliser against Monza in their 2-2 draw on Saturday.

After Matteo Darmian's early opener was pegged back by Patrick Ciurria, Lautaro Martinez seized upon a Pablo Mari error to put Inter back ahead and seemingly on course for victory.

But with the score 2-1, referee Juan Luca Sacchi blew for a foul as a free-kick was swung into the Monza box, which Francesco Acerbi nodded in, for a contentious Roberto Gagliardini push.

With a goal that likely would have killed the game off ruled out, Inter suffered late heartbreak as Luca Caldirola scored in the 93rd minute to snatch a point for Raffaele Palladino's side and deny the Nerazzurri a fourth straight Serie A victory.

Inzaghi was fuming after the match, believing the referee's early whistle cost his side all three points as they missed the chance to move within five points of leaders Napoli, ahead of the Partenopei's visit to Sampdoria on Sunday.

"I'm very angry at what I saw," Inzaghi told reporters. "Unfortunately, after five years of VAR, there was an error that penalised us.

"A clear mistake on Acerbi's goal, there are two Monza players who fell between them. It's a huge disappointment on our part.

"I complimented Palladino, [but] without that mistake we would have won the match."

Romelu Lukaku impressed for Inter as they ended Napoli's unbeaten start to the season on Wednesday, but Inzaghi opted to start Martinez alongside Edin Dzeko up top against Monza, over the Belgium international.

With Lukaku struggling for fitness, Inzaghi is unsure when the striker will be back to his best, saying: "Time will tell, he's training in the best possible way.

"He had a very good first half with Napoli, today it was difficult. We'll do the analysis tomorrow when we'll be more rested."

Asked whether he felt Inter sat back too much late in the game, inviting Monza on, Inzaghi replied: "In the first half we conceded little or nothing.

"There are always difficult opponents, Monza are organised and have excellent players.

"Without what we've seen [Acerbi's disallowed goal], there wouldn't have been this question.

"Now we start again. It's normal that there is huge disappointment on everyone's part."

Inter missed the chance for a fourth straight Serie A victory as Luca Caldirola's late equaliser snatched a 2-2 draw for Monza on Saturday.

Simone Inzaghi's men ended leaders Napoli's unbeaten start to the season on Wednesday, and they got off to a great start at U-Power Stadium as Matteo Darmian fired in from Alessandro Bastoni's cross.

Ater Patrick Ciurria superbly levelled, Lautaro Martinez looked to have earned Inter victory when he took advantage of Pablo Mari's error to smash his side 2-1 ahead.

However, substitute Caldirola nodded home in the 93rd minute to spark jubilant celebrations from the hosts and deny Inter all three points.

Lautaro Martinez is focused on reigniting Inter's Scudetto charge after returning from his "beautiful" World Cup triumph with Argentina.

Martinez, who was struggling with an ankle injury, played six of Argentina's seven games in Qatar as La Albiceleste claimed their third world crown – 36 years after their last – after a penalty shoot-out victory over France in a dramatic final.

While he did not score in regulation or even extra time at the tournament, Martinez did net the winning spot-kick in a feisty quarter-final against the Netherlands.

His focus has now switched to club matters. Inter are 11 points behind runaway leaders Napoli after 15 games ahead of facing the Partenopei when Serie A resumes on Wednesday.

It was not too long after World Cup glory that Martinez started mentally preparing for the blockbuster clash, and he hopes to inspire the Nerazzurri with his leadership qualities over the remainder of the campaign.

"Already on the return flight, the head was to Napoli and to the things that the coach will tell us to prepare this challenge in the best possible way, because it will be very important," Martinez told reporters.

"I've been here for almost five years and I definitely feel important. I took responsibility in the locker room and I always try to help someone who needs a hand, even young players, because that's how groups are created."

When asked if Inter were still in the Scudetto race, he added: Yes, I believe in everything. The first part [of the season] is not even over yet – even if we have lost important points – and we know it."

While Inter are Martinez's immediate future, he also emphasised the importance of Argentina continuing to pursue further silverware, having also captured the Copa America title in 2021.

"I dreamed of that moment as a kid and didn't think it could be so beautiful," he added. "It was the most important step of my career, the maximum point to reach because you play for the people of your country.

"It was beautiful and exciting also for how we won it, but now we have to keep winning because that's the mentality – to win all the competitions in which you play."

Emiliano Martinez slammed "useless" referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz following Argentina's dramatic penalty shoot-out victory over the Netherlands.

The goalkeeper was the hero, saving from Virgil van Dijk and Steven Berghuis as La Albiceleste prevailed 4-3 on spot-kicks after a 2-2 draw, in which they surrendered a 2-0 lead.

The performance of referee Lahoz was a huge talking point at Lusail Stadium; the Spanish official issuing 15 yellow cards during the ill-tempered affair – the most in World Cup history.

He also added 10 minutes at the end of regulation time, in which the Netherlands scored a dramatic last-gasp equaliser through Wout Weghorst to force an additional 30 minutes.

"The referee is useless. Hopefully, we don't have that referee anymore," Martinez said, before dedicating the victory to his compatriots.

"The first thing that comes to mind is emotion," he added. "I do this for 45 million people. To give people such joy is the biggest thing right now. We are in the semi-final because we have passion and heart. We are excited, as are the people."

Namesake Lautaro, who netted the decisive spot-kick, added: "On that walk to the point of the penalty, I was very calm because I trust my work. When I caught the ball, I thought about my daughter. She changed my life."

Alexis Mac Allister is expecting a "very tough" semi-final clash with Croatia, who stunned Brazil on penalties earlier in the day, while Rodrigo de Paul is embracing the moment.

"I'm excited because I work hard to make these things happen," the midfielder said. "Playing a World Cup semi-final is not an everyday occurrence.

"The idea was to come the first day and leave on the last day. We rose from a defeat at the beginning. Hopefully, these moments that are incredible keep coming. I tell people to enjoy it because this belongs to everyone."

Lautaro Martinez has been given pain-killing injections to allow him to play at the World Cup for Argentina, according to his agent.

The Inter striker is yet to score at the tournament in Qatar, despite making four appearances, as La Albiceleste have reached the final eight.

Martinez started the shock opening defeat to Saudi Arabia and saw two goals disallowed for offside, while also making the starting XI for the 2-0 win over Mexico.

However, he was selected on the bench against Poland in the final group game, while he also came on with less than 20 minutes to play in the round-of-16 victory over Australia.

In the build-up to Argentina's quarter-final meeting with the Netherlands on Friday, Martinez's agent revealed the forward is receiving treatment for an ankle injury.

"Lautaro has been taking injections because he has a lot of pain in his ankle," Alejandro Camacho told La Red.

"He's working hard to make that pain go away, and as soon as that happens, he'll be flying on the pitch. Martinez is a top player in the world.

"He is very strong in the mind, but the goals that were disallowed against Saudi Arabia were hard moments for him."

Manchester City's Julian Alvarez has been the man that Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni has selected to start in Martinez's place.

Camacho believes Alvarez and Martinez are helping each other's performances, adding: "The competition makes him [Martinez] and Julian stronger, because contrary to what you might think, they are good for each other."

Lionel Scaloni will not alter his principles, insisting that is "non-negotiable", as he tries to plot a route past Mexico and keep Argentina's World Cup hopes alive.

The South American champions were stunned 2-1 by Saudi Arabia in their opening game, plunging their qualification for the knockout phase from Group C into unexpected doubt.

Another defeat at the hands of Mexico, coached by Argentinian Tata Martino, could prove fatal but Scaloni dismissed any notion of a change in playing style from his team.

He said: "We watched the game back [against Saudi Arabia] but now we are thinking about Mexico which will be entirely different.

"But the way we will play will be similar, we won't change our style due to what happened on Tuesday, that's clear. Mexico are an excellent team, an offensive team with a great coach. But we have a style that is non-negotiable.

"We might have taken a blow in the opening match but we need to stick to our guns and approach it in the same way.

"When you have a blow you have to bounce back and the squad is ready to do that. We know there is a full country behind us and the fans can take confidence that the team will break their backs until the very last seconds they are on the pitch so we can reverse this difficult situation."

Scaloni confirmed captain Lionel Messi has no issues ahead of the encounter at Lusail Stadium.

"He trained well and he's feeling well," he added. "More than ever we need everyone, and I am sure everything will play out. We have no issues with his physical level."

Inter striker Lautaro Martinez acknowledged Saturday's game is "like a final", but is confident the team can cope with the levels of expectation.

He said: "Tomorrow is a big match for us. It's like a final because we need to win. It will be a very important match for our future but we've proved that we have the players and the quality and for a game like this that will be key.

"There is no pressure because we rely on our work. We are confident, have trust in our technical staff and every player. We are keeping calm and confident and will do everything for our fans."

Martino, who also coached Argentina from August 2014 to July 2016, was asked how he feels about potentially robbing Messi of a final chance to win the World Cup, replying: "What would you do if you were in my place? I hope Mexico win, there's no other answer. I will do my utmost for a Mexico win."

Mexico played out a drab goalless draw with Poland in their opener and Martino was eager to stress there was plenty at stake for his team too.

"I don't think the needs [for the teams] are that different," he added. "The game is key for us as well, we only have one point. We will try to play with our own ideas but we are playing a powerful team. When we saw Argentina in our group, we did not see a situation like we have.

"After Argentina's defeat, this has become a key match, especially as we also didn't have a positive result. If we get a positive result here, we might be in a position to qualify for the next round."

Diego Maradona should have a day of celebration dedicated to him at every World Cup, according to FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

The legendary Argentine died at the age of 60 in November 2020 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Paying tribute during the Qatar World Cup at an event to mark the second anniversary of Maradona's death, Infantino said the mercurial figure should be remembered at each subsequent tournament for his significant impact on football.

"Diego is immortal, he is with us," Infantino said. "We not only need to pay tribute but to celebrate also Diego. I would like that from now on, at every World Cup we would take one day to celebrate Diego Armando Maradona, because he made so many people fall in love with our sport, football.

"I am Italian and an Inter supporter. I am not Argentinian nor a Napoli supporter, and of course Diego made Inter and Italy cry many times, but we love him.

"I am proud because after our arrival to football, mine and Alejandro [Dominguez, CONMEBOL president], Diego came back to be with us at the World Cup in Russia, and personally I had the chance to speak to him many times and start a friendship, and it was then when I realised his depth.

"Diego was a great leader in Argentina, South America and in all the world. We need to keep celebrating him. I feel great emotion, we would have liked him to be here at this World Cup, but he is in all our hearts."

At Argentina's press conference ahead of their crucial Group C encounter with Mexico, head coach Lionel Scaloni also acknowledged the anniversary of Maradona's death, saying: "It's a very sad day for everyone, tomorrow we will hope to bring some joy for Diego if he is looking down on us.

"Every time we see an image of him, it's unbelievable that he's not here with us. Tomorrow hopefully will be a happy day for all of us."

The Albiceleste were surprisingly beaten 2-1 in their opening World Cup clash against Saudi Arabia, and striker Lautaro Martinez reiterated Scaloni's comment that he and his team-mates will look to honour Maradona by securing a better result against Mexico.

"This is a very special day" the Inter forward said. "We have him in our minds as Argentinians but he was a very important player for everyone in global football, not just us.

"We hope tomorrow we can bring some joy."

Lautaro Martinez put Argentina's stunning 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in their World Cup Group C opener on Tuesday down to their own "mistakes".

Lionel Messi put La Albiceleste ahead early on from the penalty spot at Lusail Stadium, but two goals in the space of five second-half minutes from Saleh Al Shehri and Salem Al Dawsari completed one of the biggest shocks in World Cup history.

Martinez, who had two efforts ruled out for offside with the score at 1-0, lamented his side's sloppiness and says their focus needs to turn immediately to their two remaining Group C games against Mexico and Poland.

"We lost the game due to our mistakes more than anything in the second half," he said. "In the first half we had to score more than one goal, but this is the World Cup.

"Now to rest and think about what is coming. It's two big games now. Mexico and Poland are going to make difficult rivals, as it was today too. 

"In the second half we made mistakes; we have to correct that for what is to come.

"The defeat hurts a lot. We wanted to start by winning, but it's over. We need to think about the games that are coming."

The defeat was Argentina's first since July 2019, when they lost 2-0 to Brazil, ending a run of 36 matches unbeaten.

The result saw Lionel Scaloni's men lose a World Cup match after scoring the first goal for the first time since 1958 against Germany, while it was the first time they lost after leading at half-time since the 1930 final against Uruguay.

Inter responded to Sunday's Derby d'Italia defeat to Juventus by crushing Bologna 6-1 at San Siro, with Federico Dimarco's double helping the Nerazzurri climb into Serie A's top four.

Inter were up against it when Charalampos Lykogiannis benefited from a fortunate deflection to hand Bologna the lead on Wednesday, but Edin Dzeko swiftly equalised with a well-taken volley.

Wing-back Dimarco then produced two excellent finishes either side of Lautaro Martinez's flicked effort as Inter put Thiago Motta's sorry visitors to the sword.

Simone Inzaghi's men – who moved within three points of second-placed Milan with the victory – were not done there, with Hakan Calhanoglu and Robin Gosens adding further gloss to the scoreline.

Bologna went close through Musa Barrow and Marko Arnautovic early on and led when Riccardo Orsolini's 22nd-minute shot deflected off Lykogiannis and into the bottom-right corner.

Inter responded brilliantly to that setback, however, finding the net three times in the next 20 minutes.

Dzeko instigated the turnaround with an outstanding right-footed volley from near the edge of the area, before Dimarco left Lukasz Skorupski with no chance when he drilled a free-kick into the bottom-left corner.

The Nerazzurri then extended their lead as half-time approached, with Martinez flicking Calhanoglu's corner home at the near post to take the game away from Bologna.

Dzeko nodded against the crossbar as Inter chased a fourth after the restart, but Dimarco was not to be denied a minute later when he cut in from the right before producing a cool finish. 

Joaquin Sosa's handball then allowed Hakan Calhanoglu to slot in a 59th-minute penalty, before Gosens completed the rout by converting Dzeko's cut-back with 14 minutes remaining.

Chelsea are reportedly the latest Premier League club to signal their interest in 25-year-old Inter striker Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez, who has also scored 21 senior goals for Argentina in 40 international appearances, is coming off a career-best season in the Serie A.

He set a new personal-best with 21 league goals in 35 games in 2021-22, and has started this season in similar fashion, netting six times in 11 Serie A fixtures.

Martinez also showed his quality with a goal and an assist in the dramatic 3-3 Champions League draw against Barcelona.


TOP STORY – CHELSEA LOOK TO INTER FOR STRIKER SOLUTION

According to InterLive, what separates Chelsea's chances from Martinez's other Premier League suitors is their potential to include current loanee Romelu Lukaku in their bid.

The report states Inter's starting point for an acceptable price tag will be €90million, which is what Tottenham are said to have offered before the beginning of last season.

Tottenham are one of the other Premier League teams named in the report, while Manchester United and Newcastle United have previously been connected with a pursuit of Martinez.

Inter will have all the leverage in any negotiations, with Martinez's contract tying him to the club until 2026.


ROUND-UP

– De Telegraaf claims PSV are in such a dire financial situation that they will be forced to accept a €30m bid for 23-year-old breakout star Cody Gakpo

– According to Calciomercato, Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham are all circling 21-year-old Midtjylland winger Gustav Isaksen.

– Diario Sport is reporting Paris Saint-Germain are the favourites to land prized 16-year-old Palmeiras prospect Endrick, while Real Madrid are also said to be all-in, and Barcelona may turn their attention to more pressing matters.

– Spezia are looking for €30m to part ways with 22-year-old centre-back Jakub Kiwior, with Milan, Juventus and West Ham said to have strong interest, per Tuttomercatoweb.

– The Chronicle is reporting Newcastle are weighing up a move for 18-year-old winger Eguinaldo, who plays for Vasco Da Gama in the Brazilian second division and has a £26m release clause in his contract.

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