Fiorentina 3-4 Inter: Freak last-gasp Mkhitaryan goal stuns Viola
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored a freak last-gasp goal to snatch a 4-3 victory for Inter over Fiorentina in a Serie A thriller at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
A frantic first half saw Inter race into a two-goal lead with only 15 minutes on the clock, Nicolo Barella opening the scoring and Martinez doubling the lead, but Arthur Cabral's penalty gave the Viola hope.
Jonathan Ikone curled home an equaliser on the hour mark before Martinez doubled his tally from the penalty spot, but Luka Jovic appeared to have snatched a point with time running out.
The drama was not over, however, as substitute Lorenzo Venuti saw his attempted clearance hit Mkhitaryan on the shin and bobble into the net in one stunning final twist.
Inter got the breakthrough inside 90 seconds, Martinez winning possession high up the field and feeding a pass through to Barrella to poke a finish past Pietro Terracciano with the outside of his right boot.
The ruthless Nerazzurri doubled their advantage after 15 minutes, when Martinez skipped through the defence to drill home a low strike.
A poor challenge from Federico Dimarco on Giacomo Bonaventura gave Fiorentina hope, with a penalty awarded after a VAR review and Cabral stepping up to coolly send Andre Onana the wrong way.
Just before the hour mark, the Viola had their equaliser as first-half substitute Ikone surged into the box from the right side and shifted the ball onto his left foot before curling a fantastic shot into the top-left corner.
A VAR review with 20 minutes remaining gave Inter a chance to regain the lead, as Martinez was felled by Terraciano in the box and the striker stepped up to rifle into the top-right corner, but Jovic then equalised with an acrobatic volley following a corner.
The hosts were cruelly denied a point five minutes into time added on, when Mkhitaryan knew little above an attempted clearance from Venuti that struck him and found the back of the net to settle a classic contest.
What does it mean? Leaky defence a concern for Inzaghi
It was ultimately job done for Inter, but there will certainly be some concerns about the defensive performance of Simone Inzaghi's side.
This was the fifth occasion in 15 matches this season that Inter have conceded at least three goals, having previously done so against Lazio, Udinese and Milan in Serie A, as well as Barcelona in the Champions League.
Cremonese. Spezia, Monza, Verona, Sampdoria and Monza are the only sides to have conceded more than the 17 goals Inter have shipped in Serie A this season.
Marvellous Martinez shines again
Martinez continues to be linked with an array of Europe's top clubs and his performance against Fiorentina will not go unnoticed having displayed his attacking awareness, deft ability and composure in an exceptional performance.
A brace takes his tally for the season to six Serie A goals, level at the top of the scoring charts alongside Ciro Immobile, Dusan Vlahovic and Marko Arnautovic, while his performances will provide optimism for Argentina ahead of the World Cup.
Mammoth streak continues
Inter's victory over Fiorentina extended their streak without a draw to 20 Serie A matches, the longest such record in Italy's top-flight, and sees the Nerrazzuri hit that tally for the first time since January 1941.
They have now gone 11 matches against the Viola without a defeat (six wins, five draws), having lost five of their previous six in the competition beforehand.
Key Opta Facts
- 93 minutes and 20 seconds of play elapsed between Nicolo Barrella's opening goal and Henrikh Mkhitaryan's winner.
- Lautaro Martinez is the only player who has scored at least three goals with both his right and his left foot in Serie A this season.
- With two goals scored in his first 10 Serie A appearances this season, Jonathan Ikone has already equalled the amount of league goals netted throughout the whole last season (two in 35 games across Serie A and Ligue 1).
- Nicolo Barella is one of three midfielders to have both scored at least four goals and delivered at least four assists in the big-5 European leagues this season, alongside Bukayo Saka and Florian Kainz
Inter will look to take a huge stride towards the Champions League knockout stages against Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday, while Fiorentina host Istanbul Buyuksehir in the UEFA Conference League the following day.