Inter Milan secured the gap that separates them from the Serie A leaders Naples stayed on 15 points with a 3-1 win over Udinese on Saturday.
Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lautaro Martinez all scored in a hard-fought win against ninth-placed Udinese, who have won just one of their last 15 league games.
Simone Inzaghi’s side remain second and three points ahead of local rivals AC Milan, who beat Monza 1-0 on Saturday, but are a long way behind Napoli in the after their 2-0 win at Sassuolo on Friday.
“Udinese “It’s a physical side with a good approach that causes a lot of problems, as we already saw at the back (lost 3-1),” Inzaghi told Sky.
“It’s a good win that allows us to keep going.”
Lukaku gave Inter the lead from the penalty spot with a second attempt in the 20th minute, his first league goal since their season opener at Lecce.
But Sando Lovric gave the away side a deserved equalizer with a powerful strike two minutes before half-time.
From there Inter struggled to destroy Udinese’s spirit, Edin Dzeko missed a great chance a minute before a magic trick from Mkhitaryan that brought the game to the fans’ delight.
The former captain of Armenia Mkhitaryan came home a beautiful first time break from Federico Dimarco in the 73rd minute to send a wave of relief at the San Siro.
Last-minute substitute Martinez scored his eighth goal in all competitions since the World Cup after collecting Danilo D’Ambrosio’s long pass, giving Inter a big win ahead of the Champions League visit to Porto on Wednesday.
“Obviously it’s important to win the home leg,” Mkhitaryan told Sky.
“We know how strong Porto is, I played against them last season in a friendly with Roma. We have to prepare for them.”
Milan’s season is back in gear and Junior Messias hit hard from the edge of the area in the 31st minute to get the third win since the new year.
“We had the opportunity to add more… but given the situation we are in, we need to improve our confidence to get results,” said the coach of Stefano Pioli on DAZN.
“We are in a battle for the Champions League, but if we keep clean sheets we will have a good chance to win games.”
Saturday’s win over their Lombardy side was Milan’s third single-goal win in all competitions and came after a 1-0 Champions League victory earlier today. Second to Tottenham Hotspur.
Monza, whose unbeaten run ended at eight games, dropped to 11th thanks to Bologna’s 2-1 win over struggling Sampdoria.
Milan did not return to the best but easily won the majority, Michele Di Gregorio had to make a series of saves before the Messias fell to his third league goal of the season.
Rafael Leao cut off a speculative effort from the post in the 19th minute and six minutes later his weak finish at the end of a counter attack was pushed by Di Gregorio, who had to jump to stop Brahim Diaz from the score.
Fikayo Tomori forced another good save from Di Gregorio with a quick shot before the half-hour mark, but the best chance was wasted by Theo Hernandez in the 56th minute.
The left side of France was sent by Leao but his finish was wrong in the net of the side.
Milan had to deal with a late Monza storm as Patrick Ciurria hit a low shot off the post before Di Gregorio stopped Sandro Tonali and Matteo Pessina denied struggling summer signing Charles De Ketelaere.
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