Lautaro scores again to help Inter beat Fiorentina and move back top of Serie A
MILAN (AP) — It seems as if no one can stop Inter Milan or Lautaro Martínez.
The Argentina World Cup winner scored again Sunday to help Inter to a 1-0 win at Fiorentina, which had a penalty saved.
Inter moved back to the top of Serie A and with a game in hand, after its involvement in the Italian Super Cup in Saudi Arabia. Simone Inzaghi’s side leapfrogged a point above second-place Juventus, which was held to a 1-1 draw at home to Empoli on Saturday.
Inter hosts Juventus next Sunday in a mouthwatering match at San Siro.
It was a league-leading 19th goal for Lautaro in as many matches. He also netted the goal that gave Inter the Italian Super Cup on Monday.
Fiorentina remained two points behind fourth-place Atalanta.
The home side had the ball in the back of the net in the 11th minute. M’Bala Nzola ran onto a long ball over the top and nutmegged Inter goalkeeper Yann Sommer but it was ruled out for offside.
Instead, Inter took the lead three minutes later as a corner was whipped in from the left for Lautaro's header at the near post.
Fiorentina almost equalized 10 minutes before the break but Sommer pulled off a magnificent save to fingertip Giacomo Bonaventura’s corner over the bar at full stretch.
The hosts felt they should have had a penalty from the resulting corner as Luca Ranieri was hauled down by Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni but a lengthy VAR check ruled that the official on the field was right to wave play on.
Fiorentina did get a penalty in the 75th minute, following another VAR check, after Sommer went to push the ball clear but instead punched Nzola in the face.
Sommer went from villain to hero for Inter as he comfortably saved a weak penalty from Nicolás González.
Remarkably it was the fifth failed spot kick in Serie A this weekend, out of seven.
Lazio and Napoli played out a tense 0-0 draw that did neither side any favors in their fight for fourth spot in Serie A.
The result left Lazio two points below Atalanta, with Napoli two points further back.
Last year, Napoli and Lazio finished first and second in Serie A but had struggled this season. Napoli, which scored the most goals in the league last campaign, has now failed to find the back of the net in eight of Walter Mazzarri’s 14 matches in charge.
Both teams were looking to bounce back from losses in the Italian Super Cup. Lazio was humiliated 3-0 by Inter in the semifinals, while Napoli lost 1-0 to the Nerazzurri in the final.
However, both teams also had a number of star players missing. Giovanni Simeone, Kvicha Kvaratskhelia and Jens Cajuste were all suspended for Napoli, which was also without key forward Victor Osimhen because of the Africa Cup of Nations.
Ciro Immobile and Mattia Zaccagni sat out bans for Lazio.
Some sections of the Stadio Olimpico were closed as punishment for racist chants against Romelu Lukaku during Lazio’s Italian Cup victory over city rival Roma.
There were no shots on target during a drab first half but Lazio thought it had taken the lead in spectacular fashion immediately after the break. However, Taty Castellanos’ overhead strike was ruled out for offside.
Castellanos also saw another effort cleared off the line by Napoli defender Leo Østigård in a much better second period.
A magnificent goal from Caleb Ekuban saw Genoa fight back to beat Lecce 2-1 and continue its push away from the relegation zone.
Nikola Krstović had a penalty saved by Genoa goalkeeper Josep Martínez before giving his side the lead with his first goal in his last 14 league matches.
However, Mateo Retegui leveled in the 70th minute and Ekuban scored what was to prove the winner just six minutes later with an acrobatic volley.
Genoa is now unbeaten in seven matches and moved 10 points above the drop zone.
Lecce was only three points above the relegation zone after Hellas Verona missed one penalty but scored another to draw 1-1 against Frosinone and climb out of the bottom three.
Sassuolo is only a point clear of danger after losing 1-0 at Monza.
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