INTER Milan’s Davide Frattesi (R) scores against Udinese during their Serie A match at the Dacia Arena.—Reuters
INTER Milan’s Davide Frattesi (R) scores against Udinese during their Serie A match at the Dacia Arena.—Reuters

UDINE: Inter Milan took another step towards the Serie A title as a last-gasp goal from Davide Frattesi secured a 2-1 come-from-behind win at struggling Udinese on Monday.

Five minutes into added time, Lautaro Martinez unleashed a low shot that Udinese goalkeeper Maduka Okoye managed to tip onto the post but Italy midfielder Frattesi pounced to slot home the rebound.

Udinese had stunned the visitors with a soft goal by Lazar Samardzic before the break but Inter were soon level when Hakan Calhanoglu converted a penalty 10 minutes into the second half.

Runaway leaders Inter are 14 points clear of second-placed AC Milan, boasting 82 points with seven rounds remaining.

“We absolutely don’t think we’ve won it yet. We have other matches to play and we need to go out and get it,” said Frattesi to Sky Sport. “I’m really happy, it’s a really big win towards we need to do. You can’t win every match 4-0, it’s important that you also manage to win the tough matches.”

Monday’s win ensured that the champions-elect could seal their 20th Scudetto in a hotly-anticipated derby with their local rivals Milan in a fortnight’s time.

Claiming the league crown with a sixth straight derby win would be some revenge for Calhanoglu who is detested by Milan supporters after switching sides of the northern Italian city three years ago.

“In all honesty I don’t like talking about the other side from where I came,” said Calhanoglu. “I respect them and I have a good relationship with the players. What happened in my first year here is history. I’m concentrated on my teammates because they’re fantastic... That’s what matters.”

For relegation-threatened Udinese, the late goal was like a dagger to the heart of their hard-working defence with the side in 15th place with 28 points, two points above the drop zone.

“How the game ended really hurts,” Samardzic said. “The point would have mattered a lot but we must look forward with our heads held high and do better in our coming games.”

Udinese’s defeat after a valiant defensive effort brought sympathy from Inter manager Simone Inzaghi.

“I would like to congratulate Udinese, they played a great match and losing like this is annoying. But I think they can be saved with their organisation,” Inzaghi told Sky Sports Italia.

Inzaghi emphasised that his side needed to stay focused on winning a 20th Scudetto and a coveted second star, which is awarded for each 10 titles and is almost within reach.

“We respected the opponent but we put our heart into, also driven by our fans. We believed and never gave up,” he added. “We have achieved 26 victories in 31 games. A great run. Now we have to stay clear. There is great harmony, everyone helps each other. Eight points to go.”

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Energy inflation
Updated 23 May, 2024

Energy inflation

The widening gap between the haves and have-nots is already tearing apart Pakistan’s social fabric.
Culture of violence
23 May, 2024

Culture of violence

WHILE political differences are part of the democratic process, there can be no justification for such disagreements...
Flooding threats
23 May, 2024

Flooding threats

WITH temperatures in GB and KP forecasted to be four to six degrees higher than normal this week, the threat of...
Bulldozed bill
Updated 22 May, 2024

Bulldozed bill

Where once the party was championing the people and their voices, it is now devising new means to silence them.
Out of the abyss
22 May, 2024

Out of the abyss

ENFORCED disappearances remain a persistent blight on fundamental human rights in the country. Recent exchanges...
Holding Israel accountable
22 May, 2024

Holding Israel accountable

ALTHOUGH the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor wants arrest warrants to be issued for Israel’s prime...