Inter thrashes Monza 5-1 away with Calhanoglu, Martinez doubles

Inter thrashes Monza 5-1 away with Calhanoglu, Martinez doubles

MONZA, Italy — Inter Milan outclassed Monza to chalk up a 5-1 away win in Serie A on Saturday with two goals each from Hakan Calhanoglu and Lautaro Martinez as they moved a provisional five points clear at the top after an exciting game with three penalties.

Inter, who are on a 14-game unbeaten streak in the league, lead the table with 51 points from 20 games ahead of second-placed Juventus who host lowly Sassuolo on Tuesday.

“We had an excellent match, prepared in the best way (possible) in these five days,” coach Simone Inzaghi told Sky Sport before his side defend their Italian Super Cup crown.

Inter will play Lazio in Riyadh in the last four in Saudi Arabia on Friday after Napoli face Fiorentina in the other semi-final on Thursday. The final is scheduled for Jan. 22.

Inter got a quick start against Monza as Mr. Calhanoglu gave them the lead with a 12th-minute penalty, sending a low shot inside the post after the spot kick was given for handball. Mr. Martinez, whose attempt had led to the penalty, looked disappointed at not taking it himself but the Argentine did double the lead two minutes later from close range.

Monza struggled to get out of their own half in the opening stages but came close to scoring in the 30th minute when midfielder Matteo Pessina nodded the ball home following a free kick but the goal was ruled out for an offside.

Inter continued to dominate after the break and Mr. Calhanoglu added a third on the hour mark from near the penalty spot, netting after a neat back-heel from Marcus Thuram.

It was the first Serie A double for the Turkey midfielder who joined Inter in June 2021 after four seasons at AC Milan.

Mr. Pessina eventually pulled a goal back for the home side in the 69th with a spot kick but Martinez then made it 4-1 with another penalty after 84 minutes.

The Argentine, who netted twice in the reverse fixture in August, became the fourth player involved in at least 20 goals in each of the last four seasons across the big five European leagues, joining Mohamed Salah, Kylian Mbappe, and Harry Kane.

Mr. Martinez has 18 goals and two assists so far this term.

Mr. Thuram sealed the win for the visitors two minutes from time after a brilliant cross from Henrikh Mkhitaryan. — Reuters