Martinez, Lukaku sink Slavia to keep Inter's knockout hopes alive

Prague (AFP) –


A brace from Lautaro Martinez and a Romelu Lukaku goal handed Inter Milan a 3-1 win at Slavia Prague on Wednesday, keeping the Italians in contention for the Champions League last 16

Martinez opened the scoring on nineteen minutes after Lukaku had picked up a pass, fought off two challenges and took the ball into the box before cutting it back to the unmarked Argentinian.

Martinez scored in the fourth consecutive Champions League game for Inter.

Tomas Soucek levelled for Slavia from the penalty spot in the 37th minute after Stefan de Vrij had brought down striker Peter Olayinka in the box.

Polish referee Szymon Marciniak first ignored the foul and let play continue with Lukaku scoring on the counter-attack before seeing his goal chalked off as the video referee took centre stage.

Lukaku added Inter's second nine minutes from the end after Slavia's last man Michal Frydrych slipped and let him round keeper Ondrej Kolar.

Martinez then volleyed home his second as Lukaku robbed the Slavia defence and provided him with a superb cross in the 88th minute.

Inter are level with Dortmund on seven points each in Group F topped by Barcelona who clinched a last-16 spot after beating Borussia 3-1 at the Camp Nou.

In the last round of games on December 10, Inter face Barcelona at the San Siro while Dortmund host Slavia.

Outside of the four goals, Slavia had the first sight of the target on five minutes when Josef Husbauer narrowly missed with a header.

Inter's first shot came from Martinez whose low shot across the goal narrowly went the wrong side of Kolar's left post.

After Inter's opening goal, Slavia put the Nerazzurri under pressure, but Frydrych headed just wide and Lukas Masopust just missed the top left corner of Samir Handanovic's goal.

Inter were on the front foot early into the second half, but they failed to produce a decent chance.

On the other hand, Handanovic had a hard time clearing a deflected Masopust shot over the crossbar and Slavia's second-half substitute Ibrahim Traore missed narrowly.

Moments later, Lukaku sent his header into the crossbar and Marcelo Brozovic then followed suit with a volley halfway into the second half.

Five minutes on Masopust intercepted a pass and sprinted down the centre but failed to beat Handanovic one-on-one.

Martinez then fired wide on two occasions and Soucek missed when left just in front of the goal.