Soccer-Inter thrash Udinese 4-0 to reclaim top spot

Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v Udinese - San Siro, Milan, Italy - December 9, 2023 Inter Milan's Marcus Thuram scores their third goal REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

MILAN (Reuters) -Inter Milan defeated lowly visitors Udinese with a dominant performance highlighted by a superb long-range effort from Lautaro Martinez to regain the Serie A top spot on Saturday.

Inter moved two points clear of second-placed Juventus, who have 36 after a 1-0 home win over champions Napoli on Friday.

"It is not easy to always play after Juventus knowing they won, but it was important to give a response," Martinez told Sky Sport Italia.

"It is certainly a great team, we work hard every day in training, you can see the influence of the coach (Simone Inzaghi) and we play with his ideas of football."

Inter took the lead with a penalty converted by Hakan Calhanoglu in the 36th minute after a foul by defender Nehuen Perez on Martinez which was reviewed by VAR.

Five minutes later Federico Dimarco fired an unstoppable left-foot shot into the corner of the net after an assist from Calhanoglu before Marcus Thuram netted with a superb finish two minutes later from Henrikh Mkhitaryan's cross into the box.

Udinese, 16th in the standings, tried to get on the scoresheet but forward Lorenzo Lucca's strike was disallowed for offside in the 67th minute before Martinez's stunning effort from distance in the 85th wrapped up a convincing win.

"We press very high and that allows us to win the ball back quickly, create scoring opportunities and keep the opposition pinned back. I am very proud, I work hard to help my team mates and Inter. I just have to keep working," Martinez added.

(Reporting by Angelica Medina in Mexico City; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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