Romelu Lukaku's double quick shot ends Inter's draw streak
UDINO: Romelu Lukaku scored a quick double shot in the second half to give Inter de Milan a 2-0 victory in Udinese on Sunday, ending their streak of three consecutive 1-1 league draws and keeping them three points away A series leaders Juventus .
The Belgian striker, who took his league account to the season at 16, broke the deadlock in the 64th minute and converted a penalty seven minutes later for the new Inter, who had been in the back for much of the game.
Inter, with 51 points from 22 games, stayed three points behind leaders Juventus , who beat Fiorentina 3-0 earlier on Sunday, and two ahead of Lazio, who thumped SPAL 5-1. However, Lazio have a game in hand, at home to Verona on Wednesday.
Inter coach Antonio Conte gave new signings Victor Moses and Christian Eriksen their A series debuts as they were included in the starting lineup and 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito replaced suspended striker Lautaro Martinez.
Lukaku has important qualities, although he did not have his best game today, apart from scoring a double, Inter coach Antonio Conte said. It is still crucial for us and I am happy to have insisted that it come.
Conte added that their demands for reinforcements in the January transfer window had been justified. A team like Inter must have a strong bank, he said.
Inter also lacked a goalkeeper and captain Samir Handanovic, so they gave Daniele Padelli a rare exit.
Udinese created enough chances to have had a first-half lead. Seko Fofana fired into the side netting while Ashley Young did well to block Jens Stryger-Larsen’s shot and Rodrigo De Paul had a chance in first-half stoppage time but shot straight at defender Alessandro Bastoni.
Inter's best opening in the first half fell to Matias Vecino after a good run by Moses, but the ball hit the Uruguayan's knee and deflected.
De Paul had another opportunity one hour after Ken Sema's cross found him unmarked in the penalty area, but the Argentine slipped and sent his shot wide.
Having survived that, Inter came forward when Nicolo Barella's pass found Lukaku and his shot went through the legs of defender Bram Nuytinck and the blind archer Juan Musso and entered the net.
Substitute Alexis Sanchez's cross looked at the post and Lukaku was thwarted by Musso from near before Inter attacked again.
Sanchez burst into the penalty area, was upended by a clumsy challenge from Musso and Lukaku scored from the spot, completing a third successive league defeat for Udinese who dropped to 15th.