Red-Hot Lautaro Martinez Maintains Inter Milan’s Serie A Lead At Juventus

Lautaro Martinez  ensured that Inter Milan kept hold of their two-point lead at the top of Serie A as he struck in Sunday’s scrappy 1-1 draw at closest rivals Juventus. Argentina forward Martinez swept home Marcus Thuram’s low cross in the 33rd minute following fine play down the right flank from his strike partner, to keep second-placed Juve at arm’s length in the title race. His 15th goal in all competitions brought Inter level six minutes after Dusan Vlahovic broke a two-month scoring duck with a similar first-time finish at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

The stalemate ended a six-match winning streak in all competitions for Inter, who are favourites to claim a 20th Scudetto ahead of AC Milan who have also won the league 19 times.

“For how the match went we’ll take the point,” said coach Simone Inzaghi to DAZN.

“We know it’s not easy to score at Juventus but after going behind the team stayed in the match and we scored a great goal.”

Inzaghi’s side have come through the first of a series of tough tests with a Champions League trip to Benfica next up on Wednesday before they face Napoli in Naples next Sunday.

They have already reached the last 16 of Europe’s top competition but are battling with Real Sociedad for top spot in Group D with the Spanish outfit travelling to Milan next month.

‘Tough team’

Inter’s hierarchy have repeatedly said Juve are favourites for the title as they have no European commitments but beyond Vlahovic’s fifth goal of the season Massimiliano Allegri’s side offered very little.

The away side were missing starting defenders Benjamin Pavard and Alessandro Bastoni but had few problems dealing with Juve’s predictable attacks as both teams seemed keener to not lose than to try to win.

A lively opening period was followed up by a miserable second half in which niggly fouls and protests to referee Marco Guida dominated, and a drab encounter petered out to a draw which seemed to satisfy both teams.

“It’s a good result. We wanted to win, obviously, but they are a very tough team to play against,” said Adrien Rabiot.

French international midfielder Rabiot admitted that Juve were aiming for the title despite Allegri repeatedly saying his objective was Champions League qualification.

“Obviously we talk about winning the Scudetto in the dressing room,” he added.

“We’re all great players, we have to realise that… I believe we can do it.”

Dybala strikes

Paulo Dybala felt the need to silence the haters after helping to fire Roma fifth with the decisive second goal in a 3-1 win over struggling Udinese.

Dybala rolled Roma into a 2-1 lead with nine minutes remaining at the Stadio Olimpico after being brilliantly flicked through by Romelu Lukaku, with Stephan El Shaarawy then completing the scoring in the final minute.

It was Dybala’s third goal of the league campaign and his first since a brace against Empoli in mid-September, and he put his finger to his lips for the people who “talk too much for no reason”.

“I try to give back all the love these people give me,” Dybala told DAZN. “I want to make history here by winning a trophy. It was a good night.”

Dybala’s strike helped move Roma three points from fourth-placed Napoli, who currently occupy the last Champions League spot, taking advantage of Atalanta and Fiorentina both losing on Saturday to leapfrog the pair.

Udinese are only a point above the relegation zone, with Empoli just inside the bottom three after Sassuolo’s Domenico Berardi consigned them to a late 4-3 home defeat.

Defeat sent Empoli down to 18th, level on 10 points with Cagliari who move out of the drop zone following their 1-1 draw with Monza in Sunday’s early match.

Ilario Monterisi moved Frosinone up to 10th with a 92nd-minute winner against fellow promoted outfit Genoa, who sit 15th after their seventh defeat of the campaign.

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