MILAN, Nov 24 (Reuters) - Keita Balde scored twice to open his account for Inter Milan as they beat Frosinone 3-0 on Saturday to move alongside second-placed Napoli in the Serie A title race.
The Senegal winger Keita, who joined on loan from Monaco in the summer, scored either side of the break and Lautaro Martinez also found the net on a rare start as Inter warmed up well for their crucial Champions League match with Tottenham Hotspur.
Coach Luciano Spalletti rested key players Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perisic ahead of Wednesday’s match at Wembley — and Keita’s goals made sure his gamble paid off.
“I think these goals were among the most emotional of my career,” said Keita. “Scoring at San Siro is a real pleasure. I think we can go very far.
“The game against Tottenham won’t be simple, they are a great team, but we go to Wembley with our heads held high. We must not be afraid of anyone.”
The result moves Inter nine points behind leaders Juventus, who beat SPAL 2-0 earlier on Saturday to move on to 37 points from 13 games.
Like Napoli, Inter have 28 points, although Carlo Ancelotti’s side can restore their advantage when they face Chievo on Sunday.
Inter had won seven consecutive league games before suffering a 4-1 defeat to Atalanta ahead of the international break but they soon rediscovered their form against a Frosinone side who had won just once all season.
Keita turned his marker inside the box to fire home a low finish after just 10 minutes and, in front of 63,645 fans at San Siro, Martinez and Milan Skriniar both then forced good saves from Marco Sportiello.
Inter doubled their lead just before the hour mark and Keita was again involved, delivering a dangerous cross from the left wing that was met by a leaping Martinez who headed past Sportiello.
With eight minutes left, Keita struck again, showing good composure to place a finish in the corner when one-on-one with the goalkeeper.
Inter can secure a place in the Champions League knockout stages by avoiding defeat against Tottenham, having already beaten the Premier League side in Milan in their opening fixture. (Writing by Alasdair Mackenzie Editing by Ian Chadband)