Inter edge closer to title as Frattesi snatches winner at Udinese

Five minutes into added time, Lautaro Martinez unleashed a low shot that Udinese goalkeeper

By Reuters
April 10, 2024
Davide Frattesi's late winner sent Inter 14 points clear at the Serie A summit © Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

UDINE, Italy: Inter Milan took another step towards the Serie A title as a stoppage-time goal from Davide Frattesi secured a 2-1 come-from-behind win at 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 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.

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.

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.

“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.” 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.”

Inter assumed control early in the match but seemed to take their time in the build-up, looking for weaknesses in Udinese’s rearguard, and did not create many opportunities. The visitors got their best chance of the first half when Hakan Calhanoglu sent a rocket towards goal on the half-hour mark but Okoye made an impressive reaction save to deny him.

Udinese took a shock lead five minutes before halftime when poor communication between Inter’s defence and static keeper Yann Sommer allowed a weak deflected cross from Samardzic to somehow find its way into the bottom corner of the net.

Inter tried to respond immediately but Okoye made a diving save to keep out Lautaro Martinez’s low header. Inter started the second period with a vengeance and dominated possession in the opening stages, Carlos Augusto scoring with a free-kick only to be denied by the offside flag.

Calhanoglu then did level with a spot kick after Okoye collided with Marcus Thuram in an aerial challenge.

Inter’s aggression began to influence the match, albeit with its intensity seemingly waning before Frattesi’s decider sparked a frenzy of celebration on the visiting bench. Inter next host lowly Cagliari on Sunday before facing Milan in a crunch game on April 22.