Martinez fires Inter to top of Serie A with comeback win over Empoli

Milan, May 7 (BNA): Argentine striker Lautaro Martinez helped Inter Milan achieve a nervous 4-2 home win over Empoli on Friday, as coach Simone Inzaghi’s side kept their Serie A title hopes alive.

Reuters said the victory put defending champions Inter one point ahead of AC Milan, who can regain first place by beating ninth-placed Verona on Sunday in their bid to win the league title for the first time since 2011. Empoli remains in 14th place with 37 points.

Inter suffered greatly in the first half against an Empoli side who had won only once in their last 20 matches in all competitions and quickly found themselves 2-0 down.

The visitors shocked Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic in the fifth minute when striker Andrea Pinamonti took advantage of Simon Zurkovsky’s superb low cross to score his 13th goal of the season.

The 22-year-old, who recently scored against Milan and Roma and twice against Napoli, did not celebrate scoring on Friday because he is on loan from Inter.

Empoli scored again five minutes later through Simon Zurkovsky, but the video assistant referee ruled the goal for offside, but they doubled their lead in the 28th minute.

Defender Riccardo Fiamuzi sent a long ball into the penalty area and Christian Aslani shot past Handanovic who rushed to block him, while Milan Skriniar failed to clear the ball off the goal line.

But Inzaghi’s side equalized just before the break when Martinez found the right corner for his 18th league goal of the season, reviving Inter as they began creating more chances before the break.

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The Argentine international scored his second goal in the evening in the 64th minute when he hit a rebound in the goalkeeper’s goal to put the hosts in front for the first time, before Alexis Sanchez settled the three points in stoppage time.

While Inter must wait to discover their fate in the title race, they will have a chance to win the title on Wednesday when they face Juventus in the Coppa Italia final.

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