Lukaku fires double as Inter thrash Benevento

·2-min read

MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku scored twice as his side thrashed Benevento 4-0 at the San Siro in Serie A on Saturday to remain two points behind leaders AC Milan in the standings.

Making just his fifth league start of the season, Christian Eriksen's seventh-minute free kick caused all kinds of problems, with Benevento defender Riccardo Improta getting the last touch as the ball found the net to break the deadlock.

Inter had a host of chances to make it 2-0 in the first half, but had to wait until the 57th minute for their second goal with Lautaro Martinez scoring for the first time in his last seven appearances in all competitions.

Martinez then turned provider for Lukaku, who fired home 10 minutes later to make sure of the win for Antonio Conte's side, before the Belgian took his Serie A tally to 14 for the season with another goal in the 78th minute.

The win took second-placed Inter onto 44 points and ensured they did not fall further behind leaders Milan, who beat Bologna earlier on Saturday, while maintaining a five-point gap to Juventus in third.

Filippo Inzaghi's Benevento stay 12th and are without a win in their last four league games.

Conte was serving the first game of a two-match touchline ban after he was sent off in last weekend’s draw at Udinese, but the fiery Italian will have been pleased watching from the stands as his side started brightly.

Eriksen, who looks set to stay at Inter after being linked with a move back to the Premier League in the January transfer window, started a league game for the first time since mid-December and made an immediate impact as his free kick proved too hot to handle.

Martinez was guilty of missing several chances in the first half before he drilled home his 10th league goal of the season.

Then it was Lukaku who took centre stage. His well-taken double means the Belgian has scored 150 goals in the English and Italian top flights combined, as he sits second in the Serie A scoring charts this season, one behind Cristiano Ronaldo.

(Reporting by Peter Hall; Editing by Toby Davis)