Inter beat Atalanta, extend lead at top of Serie A


Inter Milan have consolidated their position at the top of Serie A and Lautaro Martinez boosted his lead in the scoring charts as the Nerazzurri won 2-1 at Atalanta.

Martinez doubled Inter's advantage in the 57th minute after Hakan Calhanoglu's penalty had given the visitors the lead on a rainy evening in Bergamo on Saturday. They were the first goals Atalanta had conceded at home this season.

Gianluca Scamacca reduced the deficit for Atalanta shortly after Martinez's stunning strike.

It was Martinez's 12th league goal this season, double that of his nearest challengers — AC Milan forward Olivier Giroud and Napoli's Victor Osimhen. It was also the 33rd goal of the calendar year for Martinez, who has been in lethal form since winning the World Cup with Argentina in December.

Inter moved five points clear of second-place Juventus, who visit Fiorentina on Sunday, and six above Milan after the Rossoneri's problems increased with a humiliating 1-0 loss at home to lowly Udinese, who had failed to record a win in their previous 10 league matches.

Napoli remained seven points below Inter but elevated to fourth with a 2-0 win at bottom club Salernitana, the only winless club in Serie A after 11 rounds. The defending champions moved two points above Atalanta.

Things didn't start so well for Inter as Benjamin Pavard had to be replaced by Matteo Darmian in the 33rd minute after his left knee buckled under him.

And Pavard was on his feet — with an ice pack strapped to his knee — seven minutes later to celebrate Calhanoglu giving Inter the lead from the spot.

It was Darmian who had won the penalty when he was brought down by Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso.

Martinez had not scored for the past two matches and thought he had broken his mini-drought in the 54th minute with a header but it was ruled out for offside.

Martinez only had to wait three more minutes, however, to get on the scoresheet. He cut inside from the left and curled a fantastic strike between two Atalanta players and into the far corner.

Atalanta got themselves back into the match four minutes later when Ademola Lookman used his strength to steal the ball off Federico Dimarco and rolled the ball across for Scamacca to tap in.

The home side ended the match with 10 men as captain Rafael Toloi was sent off in stoppage time following a second booking.