Lautaro Martinez scored a late winner as Inter extended their lead at the top of Serie A to nine points with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Torino.
The San Siro outfit took the opportunity to pile the pressure on Scudetto rivals AC Milan ahead of their match against Napoli this evening, with Stefano Pioli’s side now required to win to stay in touch at the top of the table.
Antonio Conte, who was serving a touchline ban, handed Roberto Gagliardini a start in the centre of midfield with Christian Eriksen dropped to the bench and the Dane’s absence saw Inter struggle for creativity.
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Torino came closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half when Lyanco lost his marker at the back post from a Simone Verdi free-kick, only striking the post with a header he should have scored with.
The breakthrough came just after the hour mark, with Martinez fouled inside the area by Armando Izzo. This gave Romelu Lukaku the opportunity to find the bottom corner from the penalty spot.
But Torino hit back in controversial circumstances as Antonio Sanabria finished opportunistically as bodies fell around him in the box. Inter complained there had been a push, but the goal stood after a VAR review.
Inter piled forward in the closing stages as they searched for a winner and it came through Martinez who guided a header from an Alexis Sanchez cross back across Salvatore Sirigu and into the far corner of the net.
TALKING POINT - Another game, another late goal for Inter
Conte’s side have scored a number of late goals this season and they added another to their tally here. Inter have a fighting spirit that has allowed them to escape from a number of sticky situations over the course of the campaign. The Serie A table-toppers were well below par against a team in the bottom three, but they once again did enough to get the job done and stretch their legs in the title race.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lautaro Martinez (Inter)
It was Martinez who won the penalty kick that presented Lukaku with the chance to open the scoring and then the Argentine saved his team with a late winner. Martinez made his headed finish look easy, but it was anything but, generating the pace required to beat Sirigu with a looping effort. The 23-year-old turned in a performance which demonstrated many of his qualities. He was the difference between the two teams.
Torino - Sirigu 6, Izzo 4, Lyanco 5, Bremer 6, Vojvoda 5, Lukic 5, Mandragora 4, Baselli 4, Murru 5, Verdi 7, Sanabria 7. Subs - Ansaldi 5, Zaza 4, Belotti 2, Linetty 3, Gojak 3.
Inter - Handanovic 6, Skriniar 6, de Vrij 6, Bastoni 6, Hakimi 6, Barella 5, Brozovic 5, Gagliardini 5, Perisic 5, Lukaku 7, Martinez 8. Subs - Young 5, Darmian 3, Sanchez 7, Eriksen 7, Vecino 3.
27’ Off the post! Torino should have opened the scoring! The freekick from Verdi was a good one, Ljanco was completely unmarked at the back post, but he somehow headed against the woodwork!
61’ PENALTY KICK TO INTER! Martinez is brought down inside the area by Izzo and the referee points to the spot!
62’ GOAL! Torino 0-1 Inter: Martinez won the penalty kick, but it's Lukaku who steps up to take it and sends Sirigu the wrong way, finding the bottom right corner with a low finish! Inter haven't been at their best this afternoon, but they now have a very valuable lead! They are ahead!
70’ GOAL! Torino 1-1 Inter: An equaliser for Torino! Inter believe there was a push in the box, but Sanabria has the ball in the back of the net! The ball was allowed to bounce inside the Inter box and Sanabria was alert to the opportunity and finished! Will this go to VAR?
85’ GOAL! Torino 1-2 Inter: Martinez finds the back of the net to get his team out of trouble! Sanchez crossed a wonderful ball into the box and the Argentine striker was able to guide a header back across Sirigu and into the far corner of the net! Inter are back in front!
Lautaro Martinez has now equalled his goals tally from last season (14) in eight fewer games (27 compared to 35).
Romelu Lukaku has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last six Serie A appearances.
Lautaro passes 20-goal mark as Inter beat Cagliari to keep Serie A title race alive
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