The win snapped a five-match winless streak for the Nerazzurri and moved them within five points of Carlo Ancelotti’s club. Thanks to Juventus’ tie at Atalanta, Inter reduced its deficit with the Old Lady to just 14 points with one match remaining in 2018.
Inter was helped by two yellow cards picked up by Kalidou Koulibaly which resulted in Napoli playing with just 10 men after the 80th minute.
Martinez’s goal game just 10 minutes after he replaced Joao Mario in the Inter lineup.
Both sides played virtually equal up until that point as Inter started pressing the attack from the kickoff. Mauro Icardi attempted a shot in the first minute of the match that was saved from the center of the goal.
Matteo Politano and Danilo D’Ambrosio each had attempts in the eighth and ninth minutes, respectively, but a minute later, Napoli had its first attempt at goal when Arkadiusz Milik attempted a left-footed strike that soared over the goal.
Kwadwo Asamoah and Ivan Perisic each had shots on goal midway through the first half, but neither were able to connect with the back of the net.
Inter went back to work in the second half when Marcelo Brozovic took a shot that went high and wide in the 54th minute.
For the next 20 minutes, it was all Napoli on the attack with Lorenzo Insigne, José Callejón and Dries Mertens each taking shots at Samir Handanovic. But, all three attempts missed the mark.
Then, in the 80th minute, Koulibaly was shown his second yellow after a challenge on Politano and was promptly shown a red card, reducing Napoli to just 10 men.
From there, Inter went back on the offensive with Icardi and Politano each trying their luck, but both attempts were saved or blocked away.
Icardi miss + Koulibaly clearance. Icardi unfortunately scuffed the shot or he'd have scored I'm sure. pic.twitter.com/z6PwFcLJZT— InterYaSkriniar (@InterYaSkriniar) December 26, 2018
Finally, in the 91st minute, Martinez hit pay dirt with a drive off his left foot that found the bottom left corner of the net to put Inter up 1-0.
Inter 1-0 Napoli (LAUTARO MARTINEZ ) pic.twitter.com/ojcyhwu3q8— InterYaSkriniar (@InterYaSkriniar) December 26, 2018
The subsequent celebration earned Martinez a yellow card, but it seemed well worth it as it paced Inter to collect the win.
Inter will close out 2018 with an away match at Empoli on Dec. 29.
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