Cremonese 1-2 Inter: Lautaro Martinez strikes twice to keep Nerazzurri’s slim Serie A title hopes alive

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Lautaro Martinez struck twice to earn three points for Inter Milan in a 2-1 victory at winless Cremonese.

The Argentine’s 10th and 11th goals of the season helped Simone Inzaghi’s side come from behind after David Okerke gave Cremonese a shock lead with a spectacular strike.

Okerke received the ball on the edge of the box with his back to goal, spun, and curled an angled first-half effort into the top corner from 25 yards out for his fourth league goal of the season, and second against Inter this campaign.

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Cremonese weren’t ahead for long, as Martinez scored his 10th goal of the season to get the visitors on level terms.

Edin Dzeko greeted a corner with a fierce volley which goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi managed to beat away, but only as far as Martinez who poked the rebound into an empty net.

Just minutes later Dzeko had a great chance to put Inter ahead but couldn’t find the net with a wasteful one-on-one opportunity.

Vlad Chiriches was dispossessed by Martinez who led an Inter charge towards goal, laid the ball to the left for Dzeko to run onto, but the Boznian’s slotted effort was weak and straight at Carnesecchi.

Inter were almost reduced to 10 men when Francesco Acerbi brought down Okereke, who was arguably through on goal as the last man.

Luckily for the Milan defender, the ball was a long way from goal and Alessandro Bastoni was somewhat covering his team-mate, which resulted in Maurizio Mariani only issuing a caution.

Carnesecchi made an important double save at the end of the first half which stopped Inter from going ahead at the break.

Federico Dimarco unleashed a superb long-range effort with the outside of his boot, which forced a strong save from Carnesecchi, who got back to his feet quickly to deny Martinez who had latched onto the rebound.

Inter finally took the lead when Martinez grabbed his second of the night in the second half.

He and Dzeko combined as the former slipped the latter through on goal, and the Argentine took the ball into his feet brilliantly as he turned before dinking the ball into the far corner.

The win lifts Inter to second in the table, 10 points adrift of league leaders Napoli.

TALKING POINT – INTER AVOID SLIP UP TO KEEP TITLE RACE ALIVE

Inter Milan risked going 16 points behind Serie A leaders Napoli and dropping out of the top four this weekend when that Okerke strike rifled into the far right corner of the net, but a cool, calm and collected response to come from behind and take all three points.

The win lifts them to second in the table, leapfrogging Lazio and rivals AC Milan in the process, and are now 10 points behind Napoli who have a game in hand, and play a tricky Roma side on Sunday.

PLAYER OF THE MATCH – LAUTARO MARTINEZ (INTER MILAN)

It has to be the man who scored a brilliant brace to pull his side back into the game after the surprising Cremonese lead. His 10th and 11th goals of the season put him joint second with Ademola Lookman in the Serie A goal-scoring charts, as the Argentine enjoys another fine season in front of goal.

Inter weren’t at their best on the day but certainly weren’t at the worst. When you have Martinez leading the line, though, there’s always a chance of goals. If Inter do manage to catch Napoli in the title hunt, it could be one of those games to look back on and realise just how essential the 25-year-old can be.

Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring during the Italian Serie A football match between Cremonese and Inter Milan on January 28, 2023 at the Giovanni Zini stadium in Cremona.

Image credit: Getty Images

MATCH RATINGS

CREMONESE: Carnesecchi 8, Bianchetti 6, Chiriches 6, Vasquez 6, Sernicola 7, Benassi 6, Castagnetti 7, Meite 8, Valeri 6, Okereke 7, Ciofani 6

Subs: Buonaiuto 6, Afena-Gyan 6, Dessers 6, Zanimacchia 6

INTER: Onana 6, Darmian 8, Acerbi 8, Bastoni 8, Dumfries 7, Gagliardini 7, Calhanoglu 8, Mkhitaryan 7, Dimarco 8, Martinez 9, Dzeko 8

Subs: Gosens 6, Asllani 6, Correa 6, Lukaku 6

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

11’ – GOAL! CREMONESE 1-0 INTER MILAN (OKEREKE): Okereke picks up the ball on the edge of the box with his back to goal, spins, and unleashes a spectacular effort that nestles into the top right corner. Another goal against Inter!

21’ – GOAL! CREMONESE 1-1 INTER MILAN (MARTINEZ): Dzeko greets a corner with a fierce volley which Carnesecchi manages to beat away, but only as far as Martinez who pokes the rebound into an empty net. Inter are level!

24’ – BIG CHANCE FOR DZEKO! Vlad Chiriches is dispossessed by Martinez who leads an Inter charge towards goal before laying the ball to the left for Dzeko to run onto, but his slotted effort is weak and straight at Carnesecchi.

29’ – ACERBI IS A LUCKY, LUCKY BOY – He brings down Okereke as the Nigerian looks to be through on goal, but Bastoni is alongside the pair. The referee only cautions Acerbi, but it could have been much worse.

45’ – CARNESECCHI MAKES A BRILLIANT DOUBLE SAVE – Dimarco unleashes a superb long-range effort with the outside of his boot, forcing a strong save from Carnesecchi, who gets back to his feet quickly to deny Martinez who latched onto the rebound.

65’ – GOAL! CREMONESE 1-2 INTER MILAN (MARTINEZ): Dzeko and Martinez link up well as the former slips the latter through on goal, and the Argentine takes the ball into his feet brilliantly as he turns before dinking the ball into the far corner. Inter lead!

KEY STAT

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