Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram shot Inter Milan four points clear at the top of Serie A with a goal each in Sunday’s 2-0 win at Lazio which continued their thrilling strike partnership.
Inter’s dynamic attacking duo made sure their team took full advantage of closest rivals Juventus only drawing at Genoa on Friday to put daylight between Simone Inzaghi’s side and the rest of the chasing pack.
The pair have scored 22 Serie A goals between them this term for Inter, who are gunning to beat local rivals AC Milan — nine points back after beating Monza 3-0 — to 20 league titles.
Inzaghi has never won the Scudetto as a coach but his team have been by far and away Italy’s best over the 16 matches played so far and continued their charge at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.
Martinez sent Inter on their way five minutes before the break by netting his 17th goal of a remarkable season to date, pouncing on a dreadful Adam Marusic backpass before skipping around Lazio goalkeeper Ivan Provedel and prodding home.
Lazio came out strong after the restart, Nicolo Rovella being denied by Yann Sommer after bursting into the box unopposed, but Thuram doubled the away side’s lead in the 66th minute.
The France forward rolled home his eighth club goal of the season after being put through by Nicolo Barella.
That strike ended Lazio’s resistance and left Maurizio Sarri’s side 11th following a first home defeat since August, with Manuel Lazzari’s late red card for dissent the icing on a bitter cake.
Milan strolled to victory at the San Siro in large part thanks to a stellar display from Tijjani Reijnders who set his team on the way to victory with a brilliant third-minute strike.
The Netherlands midfielder collected Christian Pulisic’s pass just outside the area and then set off on a mazy dribble past five Monza defenders before poking his first home goal for Milan past Michele Di Gregorio.
“You always have to believe, we are not finished yet,” said Reijnders of Milan’s title hopes.
“We are now halfway through the season and we have to keep going. Today was a good start.”
Also on target for Stefano Pioli’s team were teenage debutant Jan-Carlo Simic, who netted his first Milan goal shortly before the break, and Noah Okafor whose 76th-minute strike came following more fine play from Reijnders.
Simic, 18, doubled the hosts’ lead three minutes before half-time, ramming home Rafael Leao’s low cross before bathing in adulation from supporters as his parents wept with joy in the stands.
“It’s a dream for any kid to make your debut for a club like AC Milan and scoring on your debut is incredible,” said Simic to Sky.
Bologna in top four
Bologna have been the revelation of the season so far and will finish the weekend fourth after an impressive 2-0 win against top-four rivals Roma.
Nikola Moro’s 37th-minute strike and a Rasmus Kristensen own goal shortly after the break were enough for Bologna to claim their third win in four games and jump a point above champions Napoli and Fiorentina, who beat Verona 1-0 earlier in the day.
“We played football when we needed to and kept it tight, not allowing Roma to get into the game,” said coach Thiago Motta to DAZN.
Motta has done a sensational job at Bologna after replacing Sinisa Mihajlovic in September last year, just over three months before his Serbian predecessor succumbed to leukaemia.
“I’m sure that Sinisa was watching over us, and giving us a hand,” added Motta.
Mourinho, whose team missed key attackers Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku, drop down to seventh, three points from Bologna.
“Without Paulo, there’s no class, and without Romelu there’s no physical presence,” said Mourinho, who confirmed that he intends to stay at Roma next season.
“Without both at the same time I knew it would be hard for us.”
Udinese are one point above the relegation zone after throwing away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Sassuolo.
World Cup News
/ 20 hours ago
Three German ex-top football officials went on trial on Monday in a 13.7-million-euro ($14.8...
/ 3 days ago
Saudi Arabia formally launched its bid to host the 2034 World Cup on Friday,...