Udinese 1-2 Inter: Nerazzurri bounce back to keep pressure on Milan

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Inter bounced back from their shock defeat to Bologna with a 2-1 win away to Udinese that ensured Milan's lead at the Serie A summit was trimmed back to two points.

Stefano Pioli's side last week usurped Inter at the top of the table and then clinched a late 1-0 win over Fiorentina earlier on Sunday, but the Nerazzurri responded with a professional showing in Udine.

Ivan Perisic and Lautaro Martinez scored Inter's goals in the first half to give them a commanding lead, with the hosts offering little attacking threat.

The champions continued to dominate after the break without creating a great deal, and although Udinese pulled one back out of the blue through Ignacio Pussetto, Simone Inzaghi's side completed the job.

Inter looked sharp at the start and that translated to an early lead as Perisic met Federico Dimarco's corner delivery with a glancing header that beat Marco Silvestri at his near post.

The visitors looked to have wasted a chance to double their lead just past the half-hour mark when Martinez's close-range chip was saved by Silvestri, but Pablo Mari fouled Edin Dzeko as he attempted to convert on the rebound.

Martinez's subsequent penalty hit the post and then Silvestri before allowing the Argentinian a simple finish following up.

Clear-cut chances were more of a rarity in the second half until Udinese forced a tense finish through Pussetto, who bundled over the line after Samir Handanovic saved Gerard Deulofeu's free-kick after 72 minutes.

But Inter successfully protected their one-goal lead to seal three precious points in the title race.

What does it mean? Inter keep Milan on their toes

Serie A's top two now have just three matches left in the league this season and the title race will surely go to the wire.

Inter arguably have a slightly kinder run-in, though neither team has an upcoming fixture they would not be expected to win.

This victory showed Inter's ability to bounce back from adversity, though the defeat to Bologna may well be the cause of their title defence ultimately failing.

Martinez keeps his focus

While his penalty was poor, Martinez had his eye in where others did not. The initial confusion around his goal appeared to stem from Udinese players thinking it should have been disallowed as he converted on the rebound from the post, but the striker ensured he was ready to take advantage.

That was his 21st goal of the season in all competitions, meaning he needs just one more to set a new personal best at Inter.

Dzeko fluffs his lines

Martinez's strike partner Dzeko was presented with two good chances, particularly his one-on-one opportunity, but on neither occasion did he hit the target. He won the penalty, though there was also a degree of fortune in that as he went to ground very theatrically.

Key Opta facts

- Inter have won five of their last six Serie A games after only winning two of their previous nine – since April, the Nerazzurri have picked up the most points: 15.

- Since mid-March, Ivan Perisic has been directly involved in seven goals (two goals, five assists); only Jose Luis Morales has done better (nine) among midfielders in the top five European leagues during this period.

- Inter have scored the most goals headed (18) in the top five leagues in 2021-22.

- Ivan Perisic played his 250th match for Inter in all competitions.

What's next?

Inter host Empoli on Friday, while Udinese go to Sassuolo.

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