Cremonese 1-2 Inter Milan: Martinez double secures comeback win
Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter came from behind to get back on track in Serie A with a 2-1 victory over lowly Cremonese.
Martinez netted either side of the interval in Saturday's Lombardy derby at Giovanni Zini Stadium.
With a sharp finish having cancelled out David Okereke's sensational opener in the first half, Martinez lashed home from inside the area in the 65th minute.
The victory took Inter onto 40 points and, temporarily at least, into second place, though runaway leaders Napoli hold a 10-point lead.
Inter's bright start failed to produce a true chance, and they were stunned by an incredible 11th-minute opener when Okereke curled a sublime strike in off the underside of the crossbar.
Yet Cremonese's lead lasted just 10 minutes, with Martinez reacting sharply to turn home after Marco Carnesecchi parried Edin Dzeko's volley.
Andre Onana's save prevented Marco Benassi's close-range flick restoring Cremonese's lead, before Martinez drilled just wide at the other end.
Martinez snatched at another chance before the break, sending a tame rebound at Carnesecchi following Federico Dimarco's shot.
Carnesecchi was called into action again following the restart to ensure Dimarco's cross did not find its way in, but Inter kept on the pressure and were rewarded with 25 minutes remaining – Dzeko slipping in Martinez, who hammered beyond Carnesecchi.
Martinez made way for Joaquin Correa soon after with his work done, though Matteo Darmian's last-ditch block from Cristian Buonaiuto's scuffed attempt was required to ensure Inter headed home with the three points.
What does it mean? More misery for winless Cremonese
Cremonese became only the second side since Serie A returned to a 20-team league (2004-05) to have failed to win a match in the first half of the season (after Hellas Verona in 2015-16) – and despite their best efforts, that victory still eludes them with 20 games of the campaign accounted for.
They did forge some chances, having 12 shots and getting four on target, but on the balance of play the result was a fair one. Inter finished with 2.5 expected goals (xG) and had 30 attempts, while home goalkeeper Carnesescchi made eight saves, including an excellent stop late on from Denzel Dumfries, as well as having to pick the ball out of his net twice.
Double figures for Martinez, again
With Romelu Lukaku desperately out of form – he has now failed to score in seven Serie A appearances after replacing Dzeko, his worst run in the competition – Inter at least have Martinez to call on.
Martinez's double took him to 11 league goals for the season, making him the third foreign player in Inter's history to hit double figures in Serie A in at least four seasons, after Stefano Nyers and Mauro Icardi.
The Argentina forward has now been involved in 13 goals in his last 10 Serie A games against promoted opponents, scoring 11 and setting up two more. He also netted in the reverse fixture back in August.
Okereke fades after stunning start
It was a quite superb opener from Cremonese forward Okereke, who gave Onana little chance with his excellent finish, catching Inter off guard.
However, the 25-year-old struggled to keep himself in the game from then on, and when he went off in the 72nd minute, that was the only shot he had managed, while he also conceded three fouls and lost possession 12 times.
Key Opta facts
– With his latest exploits, Martínez became the first player to score 10 or more goals in each of the last four Serie A campaigns.
– Inter have conceded 21 goals in 10 away matches in Serie A this season. They have never conceded more after the same number of games in a Serie A campaign, shipping 21 also in 1947-48, in 1931-32 and in 1930-31.
- Only Salernitana (25) have conceded more goals than Inter in away matches in Serie A this season. The Nerazzurri have conceded in each of their last 14 league away games, their longest such streak in Serie A since 1988 (18 games under Giovanni Trapattoni).
Inter host Atalanta in a Coppa Italia quarter-final on Tuesday, with Cremonese facing Roma in the same competition a day later.