Lautaro Martinez’s late winner for Inter against Torino on Sunday could prove to be one of the biggest goals of the season at both ends of the table.
It’s a cliche everyone was heard over and over for years and years, but some cliches exist for a reason, don’t they? That was the kind of result that champions achieve. A frustrating war of attrition against a side with considerably less quality than Inter, but instead of crumbling under the pressure the Nerazzurri came up with a late winner and three massive points.
Inter’s trouble last season and at the start of this campaign was their inconsistency. One month you’d watch them and think there’s no way they won’t win the Scudetto, and the next they’d fail to show up.
Now, however, their 2-1 win in Turin means they’ve won eight Serie A matches in a row. They’re also unbeaten in the league since a 2-1 defeat to Sampdoria back on January 6.
Antonio Conte’s side have developed that ability to grind out the results even when the games are coming thick and fast. It’s an ability that we’ve only seen Juventus possess for the past decade, but it’s hard to picture Inter throwing this away now. They’re nine points ahead of Milan. The points gap isn’t drastic, but the two sides are in contrasting form now, further amplified as Milan lost at home to Napoli on Sunday night.
Decisive at both ends
This was just as seismic a day for Torino as it was for Inter, but for all the wrong reasons. Holding onto a point against Inter would not only have lifted them slightly closer to safety, but it would have also provided a huge morale boost ahead of the run-in. Martinez’s 85th-minute header will be hard for the Toro players to take.
What makes it even harder for Davide Nicola’s side is that Parma picked up an extremely unlikely 2-0 win at home to Roma. Parma are directly below Torino and there was a four-point gap that made it seem likely Toro won’t slip any lower than 18th. Suddenly Parma are just one point behind.
The potential saving grace for Torino is that they’ve played two games fewer than both Parma and Cagliari, so their fate is still in their hands. The only result that did go Torino’s way on Sunday was Derby della Mole rivals Juventus’ away win against Cagliari. A win for Casteddu there would have been a huge blow for Toro.
Having not been in Serie B since the 2011/12 season, it would be a great shame for one of Italy’s most historic clubs to see their Serie A stay come to an end.