(Reuters) – Lautaro Martinez scored a superb late winner to stretch Inter Milan’s Serie A winning run to eight games and send his side nine points clear on top with a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Torino.
Romelu Lukaku fired Inter in front from the penalty spot after 62 minutes but Antonio Sanabria soon levelled, before Martinez steered a header into the bottom corner with five minutes remaining.
“It was a tough match, we knew Torino are down towards the bottom of the table and needed points, but we did too to stay at the top of the table,” Martinez told Sky Italia.
Inter moved up to 65 points. Second-placed AC Milan can close the gap back to six points if they beat Napoli later on Sunday.
Torino remain in 18th place with 20 points, two adrift of Cagliari above them but with a game in hand over the Sardinian side.
With coach Antonio Conte looking on from the stands as he sat out a suspension, Inter struggled to break down a well-drilled Torino side.
But substitutes Christian Eriksen and Alexis Sanchez made an impact from the bench, as the Dane was involved in the move leading to the penalty and Sanchez provided the cross for Martinez’s winning header.
“They certainly changed the game,” Inter assistant coach Cristian Stellini told Sky Italia.
“Eriksen had some physical problems but he was fine and ready for the match. We expected the two of them to provide a change of gear.
“We were prepared for a close match and knew they could be dangerous coming off the bench.”
Martinez headed a good chance wide from close range early on, but the home side came closest in the first half when Lyanco’s header came back off the post.
Inter went in front when Armando Izzo tripped Martinez in the box to hand Lukaku the chance to score his 19th league goal of the season from the penalty spot.
Sanabria fired in from close range after Inter failed to clear their lines from a corner, but a perfectly executed header from Martinez restored the visitors’ lead late on.
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie, editing by Pritha Sarkar)