Sassuolo 3-4 Inter Milan: Romelu Lukaku at the double in tense win as Antonio Conte’s men keep in touch with leaders Juventus… and match is interrupted by a lost parachutist landing on the pitch!
- Inter Milan moved within a point of leaders Juventus after 4-3 win at Sassuolo
- Antonio Conte’s side took a second minute lead through Lautaro Martinez
- Domenico Berardi levelled for Sassuolo, before Lukaku restored visitors’ lead
- Belgian converted a penalty for 3-1 before Martinez also scored from 12 yards
- Sassuolo rallied and goals by Filip Duricic and Jeremie Boga set up tense finish
Romelu Lukaku scored twice as Inter Milan survived a nervy finale in a seven-goal thriller at Sassuolo to keep in touch with Serie A leaders Juventus.
Inter were coasting at 4-1 with just 19 minutes remaining after both Lukaku and his strike partner Lautaro Martinez had netted twice, including a penalty apiece.
But Sassuolo, who’d equalised in the first half through Domenico Berardi, rallied and goals by Filip Duricic and former Chelsea player Jeremie Boga set up a grandstand finale.
Romelu Lukaku is congratulated by Lautaro Martinez after scoring for Inter Milan at Sassuolo
The Belgian frontman fires home the first of his two first-half goals in the Serie A fixture
Lukaku then converted a penalty on the stroke of half-time to put Inter 3-1 ahead
The former Manchester United forward was once again in top form in the Italian top-flight
Inter manager Antonio Conte gives Lukaku a hug after he restored their lead in the first-half
However, Antonio Conte’s team clung on and move to within a point of Juventus, who beat Bologna on Saturday.
There was a bizarre interruption at the end of the first-half when a lost parachutist landed on the pitch before being led off by security.
It was an emotional day for Sassuolo, which was playing for the first time since the death of club owner Giorgio Squinzi.
There was a minute of silence observed in Squinzi’s memory before kick-off.
Inter needed less than two minutes to open the scoring. A corner was initially cleared by Sassuolo but Inter attacked again and Martinez cut inside on the left-hand side of the box and curled a shot into the bottom corner.
Martinez came close to doubling Inter’s lead shortly afterwards but saw a volley fly just wide after Roberto Gagliardini picked him out behind the Sassuolo defence.
Sassuolo supporters pay tribute to late club owner Giorgio Squinzi before kick-off
A parachutist landed on the field at the Stadio Citta del Tricolore during first-half of the match
One of the Inter players watched on in bemusement as the parachutist interrupts the game
The intruder from the skies is led off the field by stewards after his misjudged landing
Sassuolo (4-3-1-2): Consigli; Muldur (Toljan 76), Marlon, Peluso, Tripaldelli; Duncan, Magnanelli, Obiang (Boga 52); Traore (Duricic 66); Berardi, Capulo
Substitutes not used: Defrel, Raspadori, Romagna, Ghion, Turati, Russo, Locatelli, Kyriakopoulos
Manager: Roberto De Zerbi
Scorers: Berardi 16; Duricic 74; Boga 81
Booked: Obiang, Duncan, Magnanelli, Muldur
Inter Milan (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skrinar, De Vrij, Bastoni; Candreva (Lazaro 73), Gagliardini, Brozovic, Barella, Biraghi; Lukaku (Vecino 90), Martinez (Politano 72)
Substitutes not used: Godin, Ranocchia, Asamoah, Valero, Dimarco, Padelli, Esposito, Berni
Manager: Antonio Conte
Scorers: Martinez 2, 71 pen; Lukaku 38, 45 pen
Booked: De Vrij, Lazaro, Bastoni
It proved costly as the hosts equalised just after the quarter-hour thanks to a superb finish by Berardi, who drilled past Samir Handanovic after bursting beyond Cristiano Biraghi.
Both teams saw goals disallowed before Inter restored their advantage through Lukaku, the former Manchester United striker turning inside the Sassuolo box before powering into the bottom corner.
That was his fourth Serie A goal and No 5 wasn’t long in arriving when Martinez was dragged to the ground by Marlon for a penalty that saw Lukaku sent keeper Andrea Consigli the wrong way.
Before Lukaku, the last Inter player to score four or more in his first four away Serie A games was Diego Milito in November 2009 – the season in which Milito led Inter to the Champions League title.
The bizarre interruption by a parachutist who appeared to have miscalculated his landing occurred two minutes before half-time with the helmeted airman escorted off by security.
Inter further strengthened their grip 20 minutes from time when Nicolo Barella was brought down in the box by Filip Duricic.
Lukaku passed up the opportunity of a hat-trick and allowed Martinez to convert.
Clearly believing that victory was sealed, Inter were guilty of relaxing though Duricic’s finish through the legs of various Inter defenders and into the bottom corner on 74 minutes looked like a consolation.
But things got very interesting nine minutes from the end when Boga beat three Inter defenders before cutting inside from the left and picking out the far corner.
Inter were forced to withstand late pressure with Sassuolo sending keeper Consigli forward for a stoppage time corner but they held out to close the gap on Juve.
Lautaro Martinez had opened the scoring for high-flying Inter in just the second minute
Martinez celebrates after scoring the fourth goal before Sassuolo fought back late on
Sassuolo equalised through Domenico Berardi after 16 minutes having fallen behind early on
Lukaku congratulates Lautaro on converting a penalty for Inter’s fourth of the afternoon
But Sassuolo rallied strongly late on and former Chelsea player Jeremie Boga scored for 4-3
Nicolo Barella of Inter is fouled by Pedro Obiang of Sassuolo during the first-half