Lautaro Martinez’s winner over Udinese ensured that Inter Milan kept their Serie A title hopes alive.

Inter Milan returned to winning ways in Serie A with a 2-1 victory over Udinese. Having suffered a shock loss to Bologna earlier in the week, the Nerazzurri could ill afford to drop more points.

First-half goals from Ivan Perisic and Lautaro Martinez gave the visitors a healthy two-goal lead to take into the break. Ignacio Pussetto brought Udinese back into the game with a 72nd-minute strike, but it proved to be inadequate.

Both teams had their chances, but Inter took theirs and will be glad that they did. With AC Milan securing all three points against Fiorentina, the pressure was on Simone Inzaghi’s side to deliver.

Two points separate both the Milan rivals with three games to go. The race for the Scudetto promises to be an exciting one, and it remains to be seen which side will eventually come out on top. For now, the Hard Tackle looks at how the Inter Milan players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic: 7/10

Inter Milan will be glad to have had their first-choice shot-stopper back available. The Inter Milan captain was assured in goal and made a string of key saves that could have implications come to the end of the season.

Milan Skriniar: 7/10

It was another assured performance by Skriniar who continues to be a rock at the back for Inter.  He did not put a foot wrong all night and Udinese had little joy going up against him.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

The veteran stayed calm under pressure and was largely untested on the night. The Dutchman kept things simple and got his basics right. More of the same from de Vrij would help Inter massively in the coming games.

Federico Dimarco: 6/10

Dimarco was better going forward and delivering set-pieces rather than defending. Thankfully his positioning was top notch and helped him recover from some rather dangerous situations. He provided the assist for Ivan Perisic’s opener.

Matteo Darmian: 6/10

The veteran started ahead of Denzel Dumfries and provided a solid performance in defence. His contribution at the other end of the pitch was suspect, but his defensive nous massively aided Inter’s efforts of keeping a one-goal lead.

Nicolo Barella: 5/10

The Italian international looked jaded and lacked his usual energy and driving runs. Inter will hope his injury is not serious as they head into a decisive few weeks that could make or break their season.

Marcelo Brozovic: 6/10

The Croat was afforded plenty of time on the ball but failed to make the most of it. He is usually Inter’s orchestrator in chief but failed to pull the strings as required on the night. Thankfully for Inter, Udinese did not look to seize advantage of it.

Roberto Gagliardini: 5/10

Gagliardini was willing to put in the hard miles but failed to make much of it. His passing lacked incisiveness and brought down Inter’s tempo. A rather disappointing night from a player who had the opportunity to impress.

Ivan Perisic: 7/10

The veteran scored for the second time in two games and will be glad that his side held onto the lead. Perisic looked jaded but managed his energy well. Perisic impressed at both ends of the pitch and has rediscovered his best form at the right time.

Lautaro Martinez: 5/10

The Argentine continues to blow and cold. He showed little value in the first hour and showed little chemistry with Edin Dzeko. Martinez’s penalty was well saved but he was at hand to drive home the rebound for what turned out to be the winner.

Edin Dzeko: 4/10

The Bosnian veteran looked tired and off the pace. He lacked any incisiveness and struggled to impose himself on the Udinese defence. He did, to his credit, win the penalty that led to the winner.

SUBSTITUTES

Alexis Sanchez: 6/10

Sanchez replaced the tired Martinez in the 74th minute and injected some much-needed energy and ingenuity into the Inter frontline. However, he could have done better to keep hold of the ball than look for fouls.

Joaquin Correa: 6/10

The Argentine replaced Dzeko in the 74th minute but had little impact. Correa does not appear to be fully fit but still managed to create a goal that was ruled offside.

Arturo Vidal: 4/10

Vidal looked off the pace and also messed up a fine Inter move by straying offside. He looks done at the top level.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 6/10

D’Ambrosio replaced Dimarco in the 77th minute and largely steadied the ship. A no-nonsense performance by a player who helped Inter see the match out.

Matias Vecino: N/A

He looked rusty and off the pace. Vecino also managed to grab himself a booking despite being on the pitch for only a few minutes.

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