Defender makes his mark to help Inter Milan beat Lecce


Yann Aurel Bisseck of FC Internazionale celebrates with Marko Arnautovic after scoring the team's first goal during the Serie A TIM match between FC Internazionale and US Lecce at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on December 23, 2023 in Milan, Italy. 

There was an unlikely scoring replacement for Lautaro Martinez when defender Yann Bisseck bagged his first goal for Inter Milan and launched the Serie A leaders to a 2-0 victory over Lecce.

Bisseck, who hit the woodwork moments earlier, netted two minutes from the break to help Inter bounce back from a midweek Italian Cup defeat and consolidate top spot in the league on Saturday (local time).

He also had a header fingertipped over the bar in the second half.

Nicolo Barella sealed the result and Inter moved four points ahead of Juventus, who won 2-1 at Frosinone.

Roma moved up to sixth spot with a 2-0 victory over nine-man Napoli, who dropped to seventh after a nightmare second half saw them concede goals to Lorenzo Pellegrini and Romelu Lukaku.

Napoli also had Matteo Politano and Victor Osimhen - on the day it was announced he had signed a new deal tying him to the reigning Serie A champions until 2026 - sent off.

Lautaro was unavailable for the first time in 89 matches after the Argentine World Cup winner was injured on Wednesday during an Italian Cup exit to Bologna.

The Serie A leading scorer with 15 goals is expected back early in the new year.

Inter appealed for a penalty almost immediately when Henrikh Mkhitaryan went down in the area, and the incident was checked by the video assistant referee.

But replays showed Lecce goalkeeper Wladimiro Falcone had not touched the Nerazzurri midfielder or the ball.

Inter didn't break the deadlock until the end of the half. Hakan Calhanoglu whipped in a free kick and Bisseck flicked it in with the back of his head.

Lecce were awarded a penalty immediately after the break after Inter defender Carlos Augusto was adjudged to have blocked Valentin Gendrey's shot with his arm. However, referee Matteo Marcenaro revoked his decision after reviewing the incident on the pitchside monitor.

Inter doubled their tally in the 78th minute following a moment of magic from Marko Arnautovic, who controlled a pass from Barella and waited for him to sprint into the box before back-heeling it to him to slot into the bottom left corner.

Lecce winger Lameck Banda was shown a straight red card and sent off five minutes later for dissent.

Kenan Yildiz became the youngest foreigner to score for Juventus in Serie A when he netted on his full debut.

The 18-year-old had made six substitute appearances this season, but was made a starter for the first time by Massimiliano Allegri.

The teenage Turkey forward netted just 12 minutes in, gathering from Filip Kostic before forcing his way past three defenders and firing into the bottom left corner.

Substitute Jaime Baez levelled for Frosinone early in the second half, but Juventus restored their lead nine minutes from time with a goal by a substitute of their own, when Dusan Vlahovic headed in Weston McKennie's cross.

Bologna consolidated fourth place and closed the gap on third-placed AC Milan to two points with a 1-0 win over Atalanta.

Lewis Ferguson headed in a corner with four minutes remaining.

Bologna also knocked two-time defending champions Inter out of the Italian Cup midweek.

Torino rescued a 1-1 draw at home against relegation-threatened Udinese, and Hellas Verona beat 10-man Cagliari 2-0 to leapfrog Claudio Ranieri's side and a point clear of the drop zone.

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