Marvellous Martinez! World Cup winner fires Inter to victory against lacklustre AC Milan

Lautaro Martinez InterGetty Images
  • Martinez won it in the first-half
  • Milan passive for large parts
  • Inter still second in Serie A

TELL ME MORE: The first-half was largely one-way traffic with Inter doing most of the early running. Hakan Calhanoglu and Lautaro Martínez went close with Ciprian Tatarusanu's goal being under near-constant threat from an Inter side who were easily playing through the Milan back three, a system the defenders struggled to adapt to. It took 34 minutes for Inter to make the breakthrough as Martínez nodded in Calhanoglu's corner after it seemed as though Milan had got themselves a foothold in the game.

It took just 10 minutes of the second-half for Stefano Pioli to revert to a back four and, after the introduction of Rafael Leao and Alexis Saelemaekers, Milan began to look more like themselves. They got more control of the ball in midfield and kept Inter at bay for large parts of the second period. They finally had a shot on target 75 minutes in as half-time substitute Brahim Diaz forced Andre Onana into a comfortable stop.

Martinez thought he had a second just as the clock ticked into the 90th minute but his smart finish counted for nothing as he was offside. It didn't matter in the end as his header was enough to secure all three points.

THE MVP: Martinez was an absolute handful for the Milan defenders all night, whether that be before or after Pioli changed from a back three to a more traditional back four. He was Inter's main threat throughout, keeping Tatarusanu busy in the Milan goal. His header was his 12th goal of the season in Serie A and, although he's still five behind runaway leader Victor Osimhen of Napoli, this one might just taste that bit sweeter as it secured the Nerazzuri bragging rights in Milan once again after the 3-0 win in the Italian Super Cup a couple of weeks ago.

THE BIG LOSER: No doubt questions will be asked of AC Milan boss Pioli. After the 5-2 loss to Sassuolo last week, the 57-year-old seemingly abandoned all of his principles as he fielded a back three for the first time this season in an attempt to match up Inter man for man. He has experimented with such formations in the past but never has he gone with it from the start. His starting XI also raised a few eyebrows with the likes of Diaz, Ante Rebic, Leao and £29 million summer signing Charles De Ketelaere all on the bench to begin with. Divock Origi and Olivier Giroud were picked to lead the line but they didn't really threaten Onana's goal before the former was subbed after 55 minutes. His tactical gamble failed.


Martinez Inter v Milan 2223GettyPioli Inter v Milan 2223GettyInter v Milan 2223Getty

WHAT NEXT? Inter travel to Sampdoria on Monday, February 13 as they look to build on another big win over their city rivals while Milan are at the San Siro once again on Friday as they host Torino. They'll head into that one on the back of four games without a win.


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Who is the best No.9 in the world?

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