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Lautaro Martinez injury brings 89-game appearance streak to an end

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 22 Dec 2023

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World Cup winner Lautaro Martinez’s 89-game streak for Inter Milan has been ended by injury.

The 26-year-old Argentina international has confirmed he is out of the leaders’ Serie A clash with Lecce on Saturday after limping out of Wednesday night’s Coppa Italia defeat by Bologna.

Martinez wrote on his official Instagram account: “After 89 appearances in a row, unfortunately I am forced to stop and therefore I am sorry that I can’t help my team-mates tomorrow, forced rest for a few days to recover and come back as soon as possible.”

Inter had earlier issued a statement on the club’s official website confirming the results of tests on Martinez’s injury.

It read: “Lautaro Martinez underwent medical examinations this morning at the Istituto Clinico Humanitas in Rozzano. The Nerazzurri attacker has suffered a strain to the muscle in his left thigh. His condition will be monitored over the coming days.”

Simone Inzaghi’s men lost for the first time since September when they slipped out of the cup they have won for the last two seasons, going down 2-1 after extra-time and in the process ending a run of 15 games without defeat.

However, they have lost only once in the league all season – at home to Sassuolo on September 27 – and head into the weekend four points clear of second-placed Juventus.

Martinez said in his post: “I’m very sorry about how the game went on Wednesday night. The Coppa Italia is a competition we care about so much seeing that we won the last two editions. We would have liked to continue on the path, the team gave everything to make it happen.

“Now total focus [is] on the other important remaining goals.”

Lecce boss Roberto D’Aversa, who will serve a touchline ban at the San Siro, will go into the game fully expecting an Inter backlash, but buoyed by his side’s league victory over Frosinone last weekend, their first in 12 games in all competitions.

He told his pre-match press conference: “We will find an angry team that doesn’t want to make any more mistakes.

“Mistakes are psychological but in this, the boys have improved a lot. To get a result in Milan, we won’t have to make any mistakes.”

Asked about Martinez’s absence, he added: “Whoever replaces him will have different characteristics, but that doesn’t mean the task will be easier.

“Inter have many players to decide the match. The stadium pushes and the group is of the highest level. We will have to go beyond the 100 per cent.”

D’Aversa will be without Kastriot Dermaku and Pontus Almqvist, but Patrick Dorgu, Marin Pongracic and Hamza Rafia, who were all doubts, have been included in a 25-man squad.

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