MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan consolidated its position at the top of Serie A and Lautaro Martínez boosted his lead in the scoring charts as the Nerazzurri won 2-1 at Atalanta on Saturday.
Martínez doubled Inter’s advantage in the 57th minute after Hakan Çalhanoğlu's penalty had given the visitors the lead on a rainy evening in Bergamo. They were the first goals Atalanta had conceded at home this season.
Gianluca Scamacca reduced the deficit for Atalanta shortly after Martínez’s stunning strike.
It was Martínez's 12th league goal this season, double that of his nearest challengers — AC Milan forward Olivier Giroud and Napoli’s Victor Osimhen. It was also the 33rd goal of the calendar year for Martínez, who has been in lethal form since winning the World Cup with Argentina in December.
Inter moved five points clear of second-place Juventus, which visits Fiorentina on Sunday, and six above Milan after the Rossoneri's problems increased with a humiliating 1-0 loss at home to lowly Udinese.
Napoli remained seven points below Inter but moved up to fourth with a 2-0 win at bottom club Salernitana. The defending champion moved two points above Atalanta.
Things didn’t start so well for Inter as Benjamin Pavard had to be replaced by Matteo Darmian in the 33rd minute after his left knee buckled under him. A stretcher was brought on and there were fears of a serious injury but Pavard insisted on getting off the stretcher and hobbling off the field.
And Pavard was on his feet — with an ice pack strapped to his knee — seven minutes later to celebrate Çalhanoğlu giving Inter the lead from the spot.
It was Darmian who had won the penalty when he was brought down by Atalanta goalkeeper Juan Musso.
Martínez had not scored for the past two matches.
He thought he had broken his mini-drought in the 54th minute with a header but it was ruled out for offside.
Martínez only had to wait three more minutes, however, to get on the scoresheet. He cut inside from the left and curled a fantastic strike between two Atalanta players and into the far corner.
Atalanta got itself back into the match four minutes later when Ademola Lookman used his strength to steal the ball off Federico Dimarco and rolled the ball across for Scamacca to tap in.
The home side ended the match with 10 men as captain Rafael Tolói was sent off in stoppage time following a second booking.
FANS JEER MILAN
Injury-hit Milan was jeered by its own fans after the third loss in four matches and this time to a Udinese team that had failed to record a win in its previous 10 league matches.
That miserable Milan run includes a 3-0 loss at Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and it faces the French team at San Siro on Tuesday.
Roberto Pereyra scored the only goal of the match from the penalty spot in the 62nd minute after Milan midfielder Yacine Adli tripped Festy Ebosele.
Theo Hernández became the latest player ruled out through injury for Milan, which was already without eight players, including United States forward Christian Pulisic.
Giacomo Raspadori is proving to be a more than an adequate replacement for the injured Osimhen at Napoli.
The 23-year-old Raspadori opened the scoring in a derby match at Salernitana in the 13th minute in somewhat controversial circumstances. Salernitana tried to play the ball out from the back but Stanislav Lobotka won it back and threaded it through to Raspadori to fire into the far side of the net.
Coach Filippo Inzaghi and his players were furious after there had been an offside in the buildup, but the video assistant referee could not intervene as Salernitana had won the ball back after that before losing it again, meaning it was a different phase of the game.
It was the first time Raspadori had scored in three straight matches for Napoli and he almost doubled his tally on the stroke of halftime, with Salernitana goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa pulling off a fantastic save to fingertip his effort round the post.
Ochoa made another good save at the start of the second half and Matteo Politano also clipped the outside of the left post.
Napoli finally doubled its tally with eight minutes remaining. Elmas feinted past Mamadou Coulibaly on the left side of the area before curling into the far bottom corner.
Salernitana, which thrashed Sampdoria 4-0 in the Italian Cup on Tuesday, remained the only side without a win in Serie A.
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
Daniella Matar, The Associated Press