Romelu Lukaku slipped seamlessly back into the Inter starting lineup after their Champions League exploits over AC Milan to help reinforce their top-four hopes with a performance against Sassuolo on Saturday night that secured three points and our Player of the Week award for Matchday 35 of the 2022/23 Serie A campaign.
The 4-2 win over the Neroverdi gave the Milanese giants their fifth consecutive Serie A victory and helped lift Simone Inzaghi’s side into third place. The Belgium international grabbed a brace alongside strike partner Lautaro Martinez and a Ruan Tressoldi own goal.
Birthday boy Romelu Lukaku roaring into the run-in
On his 30th birthday, Lukaku took it upon himself to ensure Inter broke the deadlock during a lifeless first period by receiving the ball with his back to goal, pushing his marker away, before turning and sending a rasping drive into the top corner.
The Nerazzurri returned for the second half with more determination and were quickly 3-0 up after two slices of good fortune, as a Martinez effort was deflected high over the head of goalkeeper Andrea Consigli three minutes after the Tressoldi own goal.
Inter should have then won the match with relative ease, only to allow Matheus Henrique and Davide Frattesi to score from close range and set up a nervous finish at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, but with injury time approaching, Lukaku burst on to a through-ball and finished confidently past Consigli.
Could Lukaku start against AC Milan?
Ahead of the Champions League semi-final first leg, Inzaghi was utilising his squad with the aim of Edin Dzeko starting the continental clash with their neighbours and was rewarded when the veteran striker opened the scoring against the Rossoneri.
However, since netting two goals against Empoli at the end of April, Lukaku has shown signs of the form that drove Inter to the 2020/21 Scudetto and has scored five goals in his last four Serie A games, and provided three assists. Inzaghi may opt to have Martinez and him start the second leg, with their title-winning form returning, and Dzeko in reserve if needed.