Martinez, Lukaku score as Inter Milan beats Slavia Prague
PRAGUE (AP) — Lautaro Martinez grabbed two goals and Romelu Lukaku also scored as Inter Milan beat Slavia Prague 3-1 in the Champions League on Wednesday, keeping alive its hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages.
“I don’t like to speak about a single player, I like to speak about the team, but for sure our two strikers Romelu and Lauty performed very well,” Inter coach Antonio Conte said. “I’m happy for them because for the strikers it is important to score and especially if these goals allow us a chance to go through to the next stage.”
Lukaku dribbled past two defenders on the right before crossing to set up Martinez for the first goal in the 19th minute, with his strike partner shooting high into the net past goalkeeper Ondrej Kolar.
Inter then thought it had gone 2-0 up in the 35th, only for the score to be 1-1 moments later instead. Martinez set up Lukaku for an easy tap-in, but the goal was ruled out by VAR because of a foul on Slavia forward Peter Olayinka at the other end — leading the referee to point to the penalty spot.
Tomas Soucek converted the penalty to level the score for Slavia. Lukaku finally got his goal when he finished off a quick attack in the 81st after rounding Kolar to score easily into an empty net. The Belgium striker then crossed for Martinez to volley home the third two minutes from time.
It was the fifth goal for the Argentine in the last four Champions League games and 11th in all competitions this season. “It’s not important who scores the goals, we all play for the team,” Martinez said. “Lukaku is a great person, we always work hard to keep growing together.”
Lukaku got his first goal in the Champions League after scoring 10 in Serie A. “We knew we had to win and showed the desire and the quality that we had,” Lukaku said. “There were moments we had difficulties, but we defended well and had it under control. We knew what we had to do and we are very happy.”
Barcelona sealed first place in Group F with 11 points after beating Borussia Dortmund 3-1 in the night’s other game. Inter and Dortmund both have seven points in second. Slavia is out of contention with two points.
“We made too many mistakes in defense and overall and Inter punished them,” Slavia coach Jindrich Trpisovsky said. A victory over Barcelona at San Siro on Dec. 10 would clinch a spot in the next round for Inter.
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