Inter Milan 4-2 Sassuolo: Romelu Lukaku celebrates his 30th birthday with a pair of goals, as Lautaro Martinez also gets in on the act to help the Nerazzurri cement their top-four finish
- Inter Milan beat Sasuolo 4-2 to cement their place in the Serie A top four
- Romelu Lukaku scored a brace on his birthday, while Lautaro Martinez also scored
- The Nerazzurri were kept on their toes, however, with Sassuolo pulling off two
Two goals from striker Romelu Lukaku helped Inter Milan win 4-2 against mid-table Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday, lifting them to third with three games left in the season.
An own goal from Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez and Sassuolo defender Ruan Tressoldi gave the hosts three goals on the hour mark, but the visitors pulled back two goals to keep Inter on their toes until that Lukaku seals the victory with one minute remaining.
Inter cemented their position in the top four by moving to 66 points, one ahead of fourth-placed Lazio and five more than neighbors AC Milan, who suffered a 2-0 loss at Spezia on Saturday to stay fifth.
“It was an opportunity not to be missed,” said Inter assistant coach Massimiliano Farris.
“We wanted to put a cushion because we still have so many important games: the semi-final of the Champions League, the Coppa Italia (final).
Romelu Lukaku scored twice on his 30th birthday to help Inter Milan beat Sassuolo 4-2
The Belgian striker opened the scoring just before half-time and found the net late to secure victory for Inter Milan.
Lautaro Martinez made it 3-0 just after halftime with a long-range deflected effort
“Today the (other) results gave us a chance to go all the way and we did very well.”
Each side had an effort ruled out for offside in a spirited start to the game and Lukaku sent a shot from narrowly wide before the Belgium striker made space and sent a long-range shot into the net to give Inter the lead.
Sassuolo started the second half poorly when Tressoldi doubled Inter’s lead with an own goal as he tried to intercept Raoul Bellanova’s cross.
It was 3-0 three minutes later when Martinez scored from long range, a shot which was deflected by the hapless Tressoldi.
Sassuolo, however, pulled back two through Matheus Henrique and Davide Frattesi to set up a nervous finish for the hosts until Lukaku sealed the win from close range with a minute remaining.
Lukaku, who is celebrating his 30th birthday, has scored eight goals in his last four league games, scoring five times and providing three assists.
David Frattesi (right) scored Sassuolo’s second goal late in the game to give the away side a nervous finish
Inter would hold on to win the match and consolidate their position in third place in the championship
Lukaku praised his team’s performance saying his team ‘wanted to continue like this’
“Whenever we play at home with Sassuolo, they always cause us a lot of problems. Last year we lost,” Lukaku said.
“Today was important because we could get closer to qualifying for the Champions League. We have won a lot of games this month, we are doing well and we want to continue like this.’
Inter, who extended their longest winning streak of their season to seven games in all competitions, will face Milan in the second leg of the Champions League semi-final on Tuesday before traveling to champions Napoli.
Sassuolo, 13th with 44 points, receives Monza on Friday.