Martínez nets 2 as Inter fights back to beat Cremonese 2-1
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MILAN (AP) — Lautaro Martínez’s rich vein of scoring form produced two more goals to help Inter Milan win at bottom club Cremonese 2-1 and move into second spot in Serie A on Saturday.
Cremonese took a surprise lead with a stunning strike from David Okereke but Martínez scored in each half.
That took the World Cup winner to six goals in his past six matches for Inter and lifted his team two points above third-placed AC Milan, which plays Sassuolo on Sunday. Inter and Milan meet in a Serie A derby next weekend.
Martínez moved up to third in the Serie A goalscoring charts, two behind Napoli forward Victor Osimhen and one behind Atalanta’s Ademola Lookman, who continued his scoring streak to help his team beat relegation-threatened Sampdoria 2-0 and move level with Milan.
“I hope to score as many goals as possible,” Martínez said. “If I reach the maximum, that will mean that I gave everything to the team and that will keep me calm.
“My aim is to take Inter to the top and give a hand to my teammates, the staff and the fans.”
Cremonese remained rooted to the bottom of the table, nine points from safety, with Sampdoria just a point ahead of it.
Inter was looking to bounce back from a demoralizing loss at home to Empoli but found itself surprisingly behind in the 11th minute when Okereke carved out space on the edge of the area and curled a superb strike into the top right corner.
Inter leveled 10 minutes later when home goalkeeper Marco Carnesecchi did well to parry Edin Džeko’s volley from a corner but Martínez tapped in the rebound.
The Nerazzurri almost went in at halftime ahead but Carnesecchi first parried a fierce Federico Dimarco shot and managed to swiftly get back up to deny Martínez on the follow up.
However, Martínez did get his second in the 65th when he was released by a Džeko throughball and his effort took a deflection to loop over Carnesecchi.
EYES ON LOOKMAN
Lookman took his tally to seven goals in his past four matches with Atalanta’s second of the match.
The Nigeria international gathered the ball on the right flank, nutmegged Sampdoria defender Nicola Murru and surged into the area. He feinted to shoot to befuddle another defender before firing across into the bottom far corner.
Lookman also had a part to play in Atalanta’s opener three minutes before the break. His header hit the right upright but came out to Hans Hateboer, who crossed for Joakim Mæhle to head in at the far post.
Torino scored twice in the final eight minutes — and almost netted the winner — to salvage a 2-2 draw at Empoli.
The home team appeared to be coasting to victory after Sebastiano Luperto headed in his first Serie A goal shortly before halftime and Răzvan Marin scored a sensational long-range strike in the 69th.
But Samuele Ricci pulled one back against his former club in the 82nd and Antonio Sanabria curled in the equalizer three minutes later.
Incredibly, Torino came close to the winner in the final minute but Aleksej Mirančhuk’s effort came off the left post.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports