UDINE, Italy (Reuters) – Goals from Ivan Perisic and Lautaro Martinez earned Inter Milan a nervy 2-1 win at Udinese on Sunday as Simone Inzaghi’s side closed the gap on Serie A leaders AC Milan to two points.
Inter started well as Croatian forward Perisic shot a header into the net in the 12th minute to give the title chasers the lead.
After Edin Dzeko was fouled in the 39th minute, Martinez was presented with the perfect opportunity to make it two from the spot, with the Argentine striker finding the net but only from the rebound after his penalty had been tipped on to the post.
Martinez has now scored 21 goals in all competitions this season, equalling his best tally in a single campaign for Inter.
Udinese did not give in after the break, and the pressure told as Ignacio Pussetto converted from close range to give his side hope with 18 minutes to play.
Inter survived further worrying moments in the latter stages in Udine, but held on to move on to 75 points from 35 matches played, two behind Milan after their victory over Fiorentina on Sunday. Udinese stay 12th on 43 points.
With their surprise defeat at Bologna in midweek, Inter opened the door for Milan to win a first Scudetto since 2011.
The champions now need the league leaders to slip up in their final three games if they are to defend their crown. Further dropped points in Udine would have left Inter really up against it but despite struggling in the second half they did enough to keep the pressure on, much to Inzaghi’s delight.
“It was a win that provided great proof of character and personality, against a team that in April was the most in-form after us,” Inzaghi told DAZN.
“We were up against a team in excellent condition with players of quality up front but they found an Inter who did not want to give up.
“We needed to play an important match. There are nine points available now and everything is possible.”
(Reporting by Peter Hall; editing by Clare Fallon)