Inter moved four points clear at the summit of the Serie A standings after goals from their deadly strike pair Lautaro Martinez and Marcus Thuram earned a 2-0 win over Lazio in Rome.
Simone Inzaghi headed to face his former club knowing that they had a big chance to seize control of the Scudetto race, after nearest rivals Juventus were held by Genoa on Friday.
A clinical performance in the Eternal City ensured they took full advantage, aided by a calamitous Adam Marusic back-pass that gifted Martinez the opening goal late in an otherwise balanced first half.
Thuram drilled home Inter’s second shortly before the hour mark just as Lazio looked to be dragging themselves back into contention with some threatening moves, and the Biancocelesti couldn’t find a way past a Nerazzurri defence that held on for its fourth clean sheet in a row.
Things got even worse for the hosts when Manuel Lazzari was shown a straight red card for dissent in the dying minutes, as Maurizio Sarri’s side suffered a seventh defeat of the season that leaves them 11th in the table.
TALKING POINT – Coast is clear for clinical Inter after ending Roman curse
This was a bigger obstacle cleared for the Milanese club in their bid to reclaim the title than it may have looked, as they had not beaten Lazio in Rome for more than five years and Simone Inzaghi lost both of his previous returns to his former employers.
But it’s becoming more and more apparent with each passing week that this Inter side is made of different stuff. They are the dominant force in Serie A and now deservedly have a four-point cushion to show for it, boasting the best defence, best attack and a 15-match unbeaten run that makes them a formidable sight on any team’s fixture list.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – Lautaro Martinez
While Lazio were again wasteful in front of goal, Inter showed them how to pounce. Martinez anticipated Marusic’s dreadful backpass but still needed composure to finish off the chance once he had it to unlock a previously tight game. The Argentina international was otherwise as busy and dangerous as ever as he took his season tally to 15 Serie A goals in 16 games.
Lazio: Provedel 7; Lazzari 4, Gila 6, Casale 6, Marusic 4; Rovella 7, Kamada 6, Guendouzi 6; Anderson 6, Immobile 6, Zaccagni 7
Subs: Alberto 6, Cataldi 6, Pedro 6, Castellanos 6
Inter: Sommer 7; Bisseck 7, Acerbi 7, Bastoni 7; Darmian 7, Barella 7, Calhanoglu 7, Mkhitaryan 7, Dimarco 7; Thuram 8, Martinez 8
Subs: Augusto 6, Frattesi 6, Arnautovic 6, Klaasen N/A, Asllani N/A
41’MARTINEZ PUTS INTER AHEAD
Calamity from Lazio and Inter go in front! Marusic will want the ground to swallow him up after his pass back was easily intercepted by Martinez.
The Argentina striker rounds Provedel but is forced out wide. No problem, though, as he dribbles inside and calmly steers a left-footed finish home. The Serie A top scorer strikes again but talk about shooting yourself in the foot…
66′ GOAL! THURAM DOUBLES INTER’S LEAD!
Thu-La strikes again! Barella drives forward and plays a ball that’s intercepted but comes back to him.
He then picks out Thuram on the left side of the box, completely unmarked, and the striker composes himself before steering a finish into the bottom corner. Long way back for Lazio now.
72′ PROVEDEL DENIES MKHITARYAN
Huge chance for a third! Inter come flying upfield on the break and the ball is worked ot Mkhitaryan in similar position to Thuram’s goal just a few minutes earlier, but this time Provedel stands tall to block the shot with his chest.
Lazio’s night has gone from bad to worse. It’s not totally clear what happened there. Lazzari was shoved to the ground in a challenge and may have said something to the referee afterwards. It must have not been great.
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