Inter came from behind to snatch a 2-1 victory over Sassuolo on Saturday evening, moving within a point of league leaders Napoli.
The Nerazzurri turned in a nightmare first half display, and went into the break behind – and fortunate to keep 11 men on the pitch. Milan Skriniar gifted Sassuolo a penalty on 22 minutes, bringing down Jeremie Boga, and Domenico Berardi dispatched the spot-kick to give the hosts the lead.
Samir Handanovic was then fortunate not to see red on the stroke of half-time, charging mindlessly out of his goal and colliding with Gregoire Defrel, but the referee decided there wasn’t enough contact and blew to signal for the break.
Inter came out sleeping in the second half, and Handanovic was decisive, making an excellent double save to keep the score at 1-0. But that all changed on the hour-mark, when Simone Inzaghi made a quadruple substitution which bore fruit inside 30 seconds.
No sooner after coming on, Edin Dzeko latched onto Ivan Perisic’s tantalising cross to stoop and head home the equaliser, sparking the Italian champions into life. Dzeko was at the heart of the next significant action too, beating Andrea Consigli to the ball and forcing the Sassuolo goalkeeper to bring him down just inside the box.
Lautaro Martinez stepped up to take the kick and made no mistake, sending Consigli the wrong way to hand Inter the advantage with 10 minutes to play. Inzaghi’s men saw out the match to wrap up a huge three points, closing the gap to Napoli at the top of the table.
Let’s check out Inter’s player ratings.
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 7/10 – An enigma. Made an unbelievable save to deny Berardi’s volley, then risked getting sent off after flying out of his goal and colliding with Defrel. Made amends with a stunning double save in the second half.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 5/10 – Fell for Boga’s body feint hook, line, and sinker. Brought the winger down and conceded the penalty. A rare act of rashness from the centre-back.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 7/10 – Often in the right place to repel a cross that’d reached the heart of the penalty area. Spent most of the night backtracking and ready to race back towards his own goal in panic. Helped his team get over the line.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 6/10 – Had a tough evening against the movement of Berardi and the pace of Defrel on that flank.
Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 5/10 – Almost grabbed an assist with a clever volleyed ball across the goal mouth, but Sassuolo scrambled it away to safety. Not at his best otherwise.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 7/10 – Absolutely everywhere. Handed a free role in midfield, dragging players out of position and trying to break the lines. Flashed a nice effort just wide from the edge of the box. Tireless.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 6/10 – Did not enjoy having to sprint back and catch the rapid Boga when breaking between the lines. Couldn’t control the game against such a bold and fearless opponent.
Hakan Calhanoglu (CM) – 4/10 – That early season form has disappeared – fast. Nowhere to be seen in the buildup, and couldn’t get on the ball to impact the game. Lost in the heart of the midfield and needs to play closer to the forwards.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 7/10 – One of the better performers on the night, and brought his team back into the game with an absolutely world-class cross that found Dzeko at the far post.
Joaquin Correa (ST) – 5/10 – Not involved in the first half, as Inter simply couldn’t get the ball near him among Sassuolo’s pressure and threat on the break. Hooked for Dzeko on the hour-mark.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 7/10 – Didn’t strike up much of a partnership with Correa, as the pair rarely linked up to create anything noteworthy. Stepped up to tuck away the all-important penalty.
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 8/10 – A dream introduction, coming off the bench to pull Inter level no more than 30 seconds after stepping onto the pitch. Then won the penalty to hand the Nerazzurri all three points. That’s what he does.
Arturo Vidal (CM) – 7/10
Matteo Darmian (RWB) – 6/10
Federico Dimarco (LWB) – 7/10
Danilo D’Ambrosio (CB) – N/A