Lautaro Martinez, the World Cup winner, continued his hot start to the year by helping Inter Milan defeat AC Milan 1-0 on Sunday in the Derby della Madonnina.
As Inter reinforced second place in Serie A with a second victory over its rival in less than three weeks, Martnez, who has been in outstanding form since helping Argentina win the World Cup in December, scored his seventh goal in his previous eight games.
Martnez scored his 12th league goal of the year, leaving him four goals behind Serie A’s leading scorer Victor Osimhen, who added two more goals on Sunday to help Napoli defeat lowly Spezia 3-0.
Inter is three points ahead of third-place Roma and 13 points behind Napoli. Lazio, Atalanta, and Milan—which has dropped to sixth after a miserable start to the year—are five points behind them.
The losing streak for Milan now stands at seven games. During that run, they were eliminated from the Italian Cup and defeated 3-0 by Inter in the Super Cup.
Prior to the derby, Milan had also given up nine goals in its previous two Serie A games, a record.
The Rossoneri defended deeply from the beginning and hardly ever left their own half, presumably with that on their minds. Milan had to wait over an hour before firing, and that shot missed its mark.
Martnez’s header missed the right upright in the 10th minute, preventing Inter from taking the lead.
Martnez performed better in the 34th minute as he evaded Simon Kjaer at the near post to get his head to a corner, which was deflected in by the Milan defender.
Six minutes later, Martinez again had the ball in the net, but VAR stepped in to overturn the goal because replays revealed that the World Cup winner had drifted offside before taking his shot.
Late in the game, Romelu Lukaku thought he had scored his first league goal since August, but the referee had already blown for a foul on Malick Thiaw that he had committed.
Additionally, Martnez had a score disallowed for offside.
With the victory, Inter moves five points ahead of the Rossoneri, who are now in sixth position and facing a serious situation.