Early Martinez goal gives Inter 1-0 win over Verona

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Reuters) – Fourth-placed Inter Milan secured a 1-0 home win over strugglers Hellas Verona thanks to an early goal from striker Lautaro Martinez in a Serie A game with few chances on Saturday.

It took just three minutes for Martinez to open the scoring when he picked up the ball inside the box and fired it into the far left corner for his ninth league goal of the season.

“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,” Inter coach Simone Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.

Martinez scored again in the 63rd minute when he chipped the ball over keeper Lorenzo Montipo but the goal was disallowed for his foul on Pawel Dawidowicz during the build up. 

Substitute Kristjan Asllani came close to scoring a second goal for Inter in the closing stages but his shot from outside the box curled just outside the post.

Verona tried to put some pressure on Inter in the final minutes of the game as they desperately searched for an equaliser but they failed to create any clear chances.

The result left Inter level on 37 points with third-placed Juventus and 10 behind leaders Napoli after 18 games. Verona are second-bottom with nine points, six adrift of the safety zone.

Napoli thrashed Juventus 5-1 on Friday while AC Milan fought from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at Lecce on Saturday.

Milan fight back for 2-2 draw at Lecce

Jan 14 (Reuters) – Second-half goals from Rafael Leao and Davide Calabria helped champions AC Milan to fight back from two goals down and salvage a 2-2 draw at Lecce in Serie A on Saturday.

Lecce shocked their more celebrated opponents when they took the lead after just three minutes, with Theo Hernandez chesting in an own goal following a defensive blunder from Pierre Kalulu.

Only two minutes later the hosts could have doubled their lead when Valentin Gendrey floated a long cross to an unmarked Federico Di Francesco but the Italian winger fired the ball just outside the post.

The hosts made it 2-0 in the 23rd minute after Morten Hjulmand sent a cross into the box, and defender Federico Baschirotto headed it into the right corner.

“In the first half, we got everything wrong that it was possible to get wrong. We made entirely avoidable errors and it was an uphill struggle from there,” Milan coach Stefano Pioli told DAZN.

Lecce came close to scoring another goal when Gendrey latched on to a Di Francesco pass but the French defender headed wide.

Milan reduced the arrears shortly after the break when Leao picked up a rebound from Falcone and fired it into the net.

A well placed header from Calabria made it 2-2 in the 70th minute.

“I expected a different start to the game, considering we were coming off some disappointing results. We should’ve had the quality and sharpness to control the situation better, which is what we did in the second half,” Pioli said.

“We reacted well and could’ve won it at the end, but we must do much better.”

The result left Milan second in the standings with 38 points after 18 games, one point ahead of Juventus and nine behind Napoli.

Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Ken Ferris and Pritha Sarkar

Reuters

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