Martinez inspires Inter in comeback win

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Lautaro Martinez may have saved Inter Milan's title challenge.

Martinez scored twice to help the defending champions recover from two goals down to beat Empoli 4-2 and move to the top of Serie A on Friday - for 48 hours at least.

Inter are a point above city rivals AC Milan, which plays at Hellas Verona on Sunday. There are two rounds remaining after this weekend.

"We got carried away with our desire to score straight away," Inter coach Simone Inzaghi said.

"We should have been more organised without the ball and, unfortunately, we paid a heavy price for two lapses in concentration, but we did really well after that.

"We took 37 shots, which I think must be a record. It was a real test of character. Now we need to regain our strength and energy because another huge game awaits us on Wednesday."

Inter knew it was the start of a week that could make or break their season.

Next up is the Italian Cup final on Wednesday against Juventus, which surprisingly lost at relegation-threatened Genoa 2-1 after two very late goals from the home team.

Inter started poorly when Empoli took the lead less than five minutes in.

Szymon Zurkowski raced down the right and crossed for Andrea Pinamonti, who is on loan from Inter and a Nerazzurri fan, to slide in and slot into the far bottom corner.

Inter were awarded a penalty in the 22nd for a challenge by Fabiano Parisi on Nicolo Barella but it was revoked by referee Gianluca Manganiello after a video review.

Empoli got the second shortly after when Kristjan Asllani got between two Inter defenders to control a long ball and fired an angled shot past the onrushing Samir Handanovic to stun the San Siro into silence.

Inter pulled one back five minutes from the break after Empoli defender Simone Romagnoli attempted to intercept a cross but turned it into his own net.

The home side levelled on the stroke of halftime. Barella won the ball off Asllani and threaded it through to Hakan Calhanoglu, who cut it back for Martinez to drill it into the back of the net.

Inter laid siege to the Empoli goal but were kept at bay by fine saves from Guglielmo Vicario. However, he could do nothing to keep out Martinez's volley in the 64th.

The Argentina international whipped off his shirt in celebration and he was joined by almost all of his teammates as the home supporters roared his name in ecstasy. It was his 19th league goal and 23rd in all competitions.

Edin Dzeko hit the post in stoppage time before Alexis Sanchez sealed the result.

There were tears of joy for Domenico Criscito after a stoppage-time penalty for Genoa in the win over Juve.

Criscito missed a spot kick at the end of Genoa's 1-0 derby loss to Sampdoria last weekend but he had the nerve to step up again and drove home the winner against Juve with the last kick of the match.

Albert Gudmundsson levelled three minutes from time to cancel out Paulo Dybala's opener for Juventus.

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