STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – An early goal from Lautaro Martinez was all Inter needed to beat Verona 1-0 and climb to third in Serie A, level on points with Juventus.
The Argentinian scored his ninth league goal of the season three minutes into the match but, despite the progress shown in their last two fixtures, the Gialloblu were never able to put together much of a reaction, allowing the Nerazzurri to take all three points with relative ease.
Lautaro Martinez paves the way for Inter
More than 70,000 fans braved the cold to support the hosts, who were presented with the chance of cutting the gap to rivals AC Milan and Juventus, who had drawn and lost respectively their earlier fixtures in Matchday 18.
The home supporters quickly managed to instil a sense of urgency in the players, as Inter were off to a brilliant start, taking less than three minutes to break the deadlock.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan excellently carried the ball from midfield to the penalty area, forcing a poor clearance from the visitors’ defence that saw Lautaro pounce on a loose ball and slot it home with a precise finish.
Looking in full control, the Nerazzurri gradually lessened their pressure and Mkhitaryan was their only player coming close to a second in the opening half, although his curled effort was slightly deflected and flashed just wide.
Inter improve staggering home record
Lautaro had his second of the night disallowed after the break, as he was deemed guilty of grounding his marker Pawel Dawidowicz before chipping the ball over Lorenzo Montipò.
Except for that chance, Inter did little to increase their lead in the second half, moving the ball slowly as if they were trying to trigger more pressure from Verona, who seemed content with their cautious approach.
It proved more than enough though, allowing the Beneamata to move one point behind second-placed Milan and further improve their home record, which has seen them collect seven wins from eight league games at the Meazza.