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Lautaro Martinez at the double as Nerazzurri go top of Serie A

Lautaro Martinez scored twice as Inter went top of Serie A with a commanding 4-0 win over Cagliari at San Siro.

Martinez, who also had a penalty saved, opened the scoring with a first-half header and Alexis Sanchez doubled the lead shortly after the restart.

Hakan Calhanoglu’s thumping 25-yard strike increased the advantage, before Martinez put the icing on the cake by taking his Serie A tally for the season to 10 with a neat finish.

Simone Inzaghi’s side moved a point clear of city rivals Milan at the summit of the table after an eighth win in 10 league meetings with the Rossoblu.

No team have scored more goals from set-pieces than Inter in Serie A this season.

So it was no surprise that the hosts netted another to open the scoring against the side that had conceded the most in the Italian top flight, with Martinez powerfully heading in from Calhanoglu’s corner just before the half-hour mark.

Martinez had a great chance to add a second just before the break after Denzel Dumfries was brought down by Alessio Cragno in the box, but the goalkeeper redeemed himself by guessing correctly to keep out the spot-kick.

Inter doubled their lead within five minutes of the restart as Sanchez neatly guided home Nicolo Barella’s cross on the volley.

Calhanoglu got in on the act 66 minutes in as he beat Cragno with a stunning long-range strike.

Martinez was on target again two minutes later; latching onto Barella’s lofted through ball before slotting in his sixth league goal against Cagliari in seven appearances.

Sanchez rattled the bar late on as the defending champions made an emphatic statement as they rose to the summit.

What does it mean? History beckons for Inter

Inter have now scored 98 Serie A goals in 2021 – just one fewer than their record tally for a calendar year set back in 1950.

The Nerazzurri also recorded their 18th home league of the year – equalling their best tally from 1989 – and will fancy their chances of surpassing those records when they host Torino in their final match of 2021 on December 22.

Martinez on a roll

Argentina international Martinez has found the back of the net in four consecutive Serie A games for the first time since his move to Italy.

Although disappointed not to have made it a hat-trick after his penalty miss, he was a real handful and hit the target with all four of his shots.

Barella drew widespread criticism for the manner of his dismissal in a defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League in midweek, but redeemed himself with a wonderful performance.

The midfielder provided two delicious assists for Sanchez and Martinez and also recorded game-high tallies of four key passes, 130 touches, 113 attempted passes and 107 successful passes.

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Olivier Giroud scores 2 as AC Milan routs Cagliari

It was a second win in as many games for Milan, which is still without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The veteran forward remains out after injuring his knee in May and needing surgery.

Olivier Giroud scored his first two league goals for AC Milan as the Rossoneri beat Cagliari 4-1 in Serie A.

All the goals came in the first half with Giroud scoring Milan’s last two after early strikes from Sandro Tonali and

Rafael Leao. Alessandro Deiola briefly made it 1-1 for Cagliari on Sunday.

It was a second win in as many games for Milan, which is still without Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The veteran forward remains out after injuring his knee in May and needing surgery.

Jose Mourinho’s Roma also scored four goals as it won 4-0 at newly promoted Salernitana.

In Milan, the home side opened the scoring when Tonali curled a free kick into the top near corner in the 12th minute.

It was also his first goal for Milan and only a second in Serie A for the former Brescia midfielder.

Cagliari leveled three minutes later as Deiola headed in a delightful lofted pass from Joao Pedro but Milan restored its lead almost immediately when Leao’s effort was deflected in.

Giroud joined Milan from Chelsea in the offseason and the 34-year-old scored his first goal in the 24th. Brahim Diaz raced forward from the center of midfield and sent a ball through to Giroud, who fired it into the far side of the net.

Giroud also converted a penalty two minutes from halftime after Cagliari midfielder Kevin Strootmann handled the ball just inside the penalty area.


Salernitana had narrowly lost its first match back in the top flight for more than 20 years as it was defeated 3-2 by Bologna last week.

It was a lot more humiliating in its first home match following a second-half capitulation.

Lorenzo Pellegrini broke the deadlock three minutes into the second half and also scored Roma’s fourth.

New forward Tammy Abraham opened his Roma account in the 69th following a goal from Jordan Veretout.

The 23-year-old Abraham is enjoying a fantastic start to life in Serie A after setting up both his side’s goals and hitting the crossbar in a 3-1 win over Fiorentina last week.

Abraham recently joined Roma from Chelsea for 40 million euros ($47 million).


Substitute Andrea Petagna scored two minutes after coming off the bench as Napoli also made it two wins out of two with a 2-1 victory at Genoa.

Petagna’s goal came with six minutes remaining after Genoa midfielder Andrea Cambiaso had canceled out Fabian Ruiz’s opener.

Sassuolo drew 0-0 with Sampdoria.

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Cristiano Ronaldo scored a perfect hat-trick inside 32 minutes as Juventus bounced back from their midweek Champions League exit by beating Cagliari 3-1 away in Serie A on Sunday.

The 36-year-old striker found the net with a header, a right-footed penalty and a left-foot shot and celebrated by pointing to his ear in an apparent response to recent criticism.

The Italian champions and their Portuguese talisman were under pressure to perform after suffering a Champions League last-16 elimination against Porto on Tuesday.

They enjoyed a comfortable win despite Giovanni Simeone’s second-half strike for the hosts and are now third with 55 points, 10 behind leaders Inter Milan with a game in hand.

Ronaldo declined to give a post-match interview when asked at full-time and Juve captain Giorgio Chiellini faced the cameras instead.

“Our strength has always been to respond on the pitch and we did that today, Cristiano above all,” he told reporters.

“We played like Juve and as a team, with our strengths and weaknesses. But with this main ingredient we can finish the season well, we’ll see where we are by mid-May.”

It was Cagliari coach Leonardo Semplici’s first defeat since taking over in February and left his side in 17th place on 22 points, two clear of the relegation zone.

Ronaldo came in for widespread criticism and was linked by the media with a possible close-season departure from Juve after his disappointing display against Porto, who knocked the Turin club out of Europe on away goals following a 4-4 aggregate draw.

But the Portuguese forward was fired up for the trip to the Sardegna Arena and quickly made his mark by powering in a header from a corner after 10 minutes, a goal that means he has now scored in all 18 stadiums he has visited in Serie A.

Ronaldo was booked for catching goalkeeper Alessio Cragno in the face with a high boot as they both went for a cross, and the striker was then brought down in the box by the keeper and smashed home the resulting penalty in the 25th minute.

He soon had his third goal as he performed a trademark step-over before hammering a shot past Cragno to mark the second fastest hat-trick of his career, after the treble he scored in 20 minutes for Real Madrid against Espanyol in September 2015.

Cagliari pulled a goal back in the second half when Simeone fired in a low shot and Ronaldo had a big chance to score his fourth with the last kick of the game when one-on-one with Cragno but the keeper denied him with an excellent block.