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Inter Milan stretch unbeaten run with comfortable win over Atalanta

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Feb 2024

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Inter Milan opened up a 12-point lead at the top of Serie A by thumping Atalanta 4-0 at San Siro.

Matteo Darmian, Lautaro Martinez, Federico Dimarco and Davide Frattesi were on target as Inter extended their unbeaten league record to 20 games.

Simone Inzaghi’s side appear in an increasingly unassailable position with 12 games left to play.

Atalanta were left to rue the presence of VAR after Charles De Ketelaere found the net with a blistering half-volley after 10 minutes.

Benjamin Pavard’s poor pass put Inter in trouble and Mario Pasalic’s shot was pushed out by Yann Sommer.

The ball fell to De Ketelaere who buried it in emphatic fashion, but not before Alessandro Bastoni’s attempted clearance had brushed the arm of Aleksey Miranchuk.

By the letter of the law it was handball, but the faintest of touches did not deviate the ball and Atalanta had reason to feel aggrieved.

Miranchuk was off target from Dimarco’s weak clearance before Inter had their own goal chalked off.

Nicolo Barella was clearly in an offside position before advancing to round Marco Carnesecchi and finish confidently.

Martinez had a first sighting of goal – wasted in uncustomary fashion – but Inter hit the front after 26 minutes.

Carnesecchi stopped Henrikh Mkhitaryan from reaching Martinez’s defence-splitting pass, but the ball fell straight at the feet of Darmian, who rolled it in to an unguarded net.

It was Darmian’s first Inter goal since January 2023, a Coppa Italia winner against Atalanta, and the full-back would have had a second almost instantly but for Carnesecchi’s legs.

Martinez smashed the crossbar after Dimarco dispossessed Pasalic on the edge of the area, but the Argentinian did not have to wait long for his 26th goal of the season.

Carnesecchi held up Dimarco but the ball was recycled and Martinez unleashed from the edge of the box, setting his swerving effort outside the post before nestling just inside it.

Dimarco was denied at the start of the second period and the contest was effectively ended in bizarre fashion after 54 minutes.

An assistant referee flagged that the ball was out of play before Denzel Dumfries’ cut-back clipped the arm of Hans Hateboer.

Again it was the lightest of touches but, after it was ruled that the ball had stayed in, a penalty was awarded.

Carnesecchi parried Martinez’s spot-kick but Dimarco, who had possibly just encroached into the area, swept home the rebound.

Two substitutes combined for Inter’s fourth after 71 minutes as Alexis Sanchez’s quickly-taken free-kick found the head of Frattesi at the near post.

Atalanta remain in fifth place, two points from a Champions League spot.

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