Romelu Lukaku was influential in Inter avoiding a sixth successive Serie A game without victory on Sunday afternoon, as they overcame Empoli 3-0 at the Stadio Carlo Castellani. He has been named as our Player of the Week for Matchday 31 of the 2022/23 campaign.
A valuable three points in the race for Champions League qualification next term ended a wonderful week for the Nerazzurri, after they had secured a semi-final meeting with crosstown rivals AC Milan in this season’s competition against Benfica four days earlier.
Belgian back to his best
Having not scored from open play since the opening day of the campaign at Lecce, Lukaku netted a first brace in Serie A for over two years – the last coming against Lazio on February 14, 2021 – and also provided the assist for the final goal of the game, netted by strike partner Lautaro Martinez.
After an uneventful first half, the 29-year-old Chelsea loanee gave Inter the perfect start to the second, finishing a smooth passing move on 48 minutes with a low right-footed shot into the bottom corner and put the points beyond doubt with an emphatic driving effort into the opposite corner with 14 minutes remaining.
Lu-La back in harmony
While the Interisti will be pleased to see their Belgian international showing signs of the form that helped propel them to Serie A glory in 2020/21, the sight of Lukaku combining with Martinez again will be even more welcome. Particularly with a Champions League semi-final on the horizon and a six-team fight for a top-four place.
Two minutes before the end of the game in Tuscany, the ex-Manchester United striker drove purposefully towards goal, but rather than seeking a hat-trick goal, played the ball into the path of the 2022 World Cup winner to add a third instead.
The goal ensured that Martinez became the first Inter player to score 15 or more goals in three or more consecutive Serie A campaigns since fellow Argentinean Mauro Icardi, who achieved the feat four times between 2014/15 and 2017/18.