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Martinez sees red as Nainggolan frustrates Inter Milan

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Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez celebrates after scoring a header and open the scoring during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Cagliari on January 26, 2020 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)

Radja Nainggolan grabbed the equaliser in a 1-1 draw for Cagliari to dent the title ambitions of his parent club Inter Milan, who struggled to a third consecutive stalemate on Sunday.

Tensions reached boiling point in the San Siro as Inter’s goal scorer Lautaro Martinez was sent off in injury time for arguing with the referee.

The Argentinian risks a long suspension as he roared, kicked the ball and punched the plexiglass at the side of the pitch, after being dragged away by his teammates.

Antonio Conte’s second-placed Inter are now three points adrift of leaders Juventus, who travel to 13th-placed Napoli later on Sunday.

The northerners can also be caught by Lazio, in third, who are three points behind before their derby clash against fifth-placed Roma.

A win would see Simone Inzaghi’s Lazio join Inter in the standings, with a game in hand to be played in February against Hellas Verona.

Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez reacts after missing a goal opportunity during the Italian Serie A football match Inter Milan vs Cagliari on January 26, 2020 at the San Siro stadium in Milan. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP)


Martinez’s frustration mirrored that of his team who have now been held to three consecutive 1-1 draws — at home against Atalanta and Cagliari and at Lecce.

Inter have taken 11 points from the last seven games, not enough to keep pace with eight-time reigning champions Juventus.

Inter had gotten off to a promising start with Ashley Young having an immediate impact on his debut after arriving from Manchester United, providing the cross who allowed Martinez to head in just before half an hour.

But the hosts failed to build on the momentum and the Sardinians stayed in the match until Nainggolan’s long-range equaliser which took a deflection into the goal on 78 minutes.

Romelu Lukaku missed a late chance for the hosts, sending wide, as both sides pushed desperately for the winner.

Tensions were already high Martinez went down in a challenge and earned a yellow card for a comment to the referee, promptly earning a straight red for then screaming at the official.

Cagliari, in the sixth, occupies the final Europa League berth, despite taking just three points from their last seven games.


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