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Mauro Icardi penalty gives Inter Milan 1-0 win over Udinese

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That almost didn’t happen, which would have been bad.

FC Internazionale v Udinese - Serie A
Mauro Icardi of FC Internazionale celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Udinese at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 15, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

A Mauro Icardi penalty in the 76th minute was the difference as Inter Milan rebounded from a tough week to beat lowly Udinese, 1-0 at the Giuseppe Meazza Saturday.

The unimpressive win kept Internazionale in the top three of Serie A for this weekend. Inter seemed sluggish and lackadaisical throughout the entire match despite controlling the ball for a large majority of the match.

FC Internazionale v Udinese - Serie A
FC Internazionale coach Luciano Spalletti gestures during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Udinese at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 15, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

The win snapped a seven-match winless streak in all competitions for the Nerazzurri.

Inter started the match strong, peppering Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso early and often. Joao Mario — who has seen a resurgent start to his career at Inter after returning from last season’s loan at West Ham — opened with a blast from distance in the 8th minute and Milan Skriniar missed a great opportunity off a cross from Mario in the 18th minute.

Mario and Icardi each had shots pushed barely out of danger in the 21st and 22nd minutes, respectively.

Even Borja Valero seemed to find his shooting touch midway through the first half, but his attempts went high and to the right.

FC Internazionale v Udinese - Serie A
Joao Mario of FC Internazionale is challenged by Rodrigo De Paul of Udinese Calcio during the Serie A match between FC Internazionale and Udinese at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 15, 2018 in Milan, Italy.
Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

Through the end of the first half, Matteo Politano, Marcelo Brozovic and Valero continued to hammer at the Udinese goal to no avail.

On the other side of the ball, Udinese failed to mount any kind of a challenge through the entire first half but Inter failed to capitalize on any of their numerous shots on goal as Musso did a solid job keeping Inter out of the net.

Udinese got their first real shot on goal in the 51st minute when Rolando Mandragora tested Samir Handanovic with a shot, but his attempt went high and wide to the left.

After Valero missed what seemed to be is 100th attempt at goal — it was actually only his fourth shot — Rodrigo de Paul missed a couple of back-to-back opportunities for Udinese.

A bright spot happened after Lautaro Martinez was subbed in for Inter in the 55th minute. Martinez immediately went to work, drilling a pair of shots in the 61st and 62nd minutes that were pushed aside by Musso.

Martinez, Skriniar and Kwadwo Asamoah had three attempts in a two-minute time span, but none hit the back of the net.

Finally, in the 73rd minute Seko Fofana gave Inter a penalty shot after video review confirmed a handball in the area on a Ivan Perisic pass in front of the net.

Icardi was able to step up to the spot and place a cheeky attempt over Musso to give Inter a 1-0 lead.

Icardi nearly doubled the lead in extra time, but his shot went right and over the bar.

Inter Milan returns to league action at 12 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 when they travel to Chievo Verona.


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