Inter Milan made it nine wins in 10 Serie A games as the Nerazzurri recorded a routine 2-0 win over struggling Spezia at San Siro to keep in touching distance of Napoli at the league summit.
Simone Inzaghi’s side took the lead after 36 minutes with a superb bit of one-touch play.
Hakan Calhanoglu, Federico Dimarco and Lautaro Martinez were all involved, with the latter providing a deft flick to assist Roberto Gagliardini, who calmly finished from inside the box to round off a great passing move.
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The hosts were then awarded a penalty in the 57th minute, as Martinez’s shot cannoned off the arm of Spezia debutant Jakub Kiwior in the box. The Argentinian made no mistake from the resulting spot kick, placing it into the bottom left corner to double Inter’s advantage.
The result means Internazionale leapfrog AC Milan into 2nd place, just one point behind Napoli, having played a game more. Spezia, meanwhile, slip to their third defeat in a row and languish in 17th.
TALKING POINT - Inter Milan showing that they are serious Scudetto challengers
Despite AC Milan and Napoli being the early pace setters, Inter’s recent form has shown that they are more than capable of defending their Scudetto crown this season. Simone Inzaghi’s side have now won nine of their last ten league games, and crucially, have already played Milan, Napoli and Juventus.
Injuries to Matteo Darmian, Andrea Ranocchia and Stefan de Vrij did little to spoil the Nerazzurri’s momentum, with Federico Dimarco, Denzel Dumfries and Roberto Gagliardini performing well in their absences.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Lautaro Martinez
Inter’s top scorer this season was a thorn to Spezia all evening, and the visitors sitting deep to try and frustrate did not make things any easier, as the Argentine helped himself to many touches of the ball. Six shots on goal during the match for the forward demonstrated that.
First off, the 24-year-old’s assist for Inter’s opener was exquisite - rounding off a great passing move with a cute backheel into the path of Gagliardini, who finished well. A penalty goal that took his tally to eight league goals for the season solidified his great performance. Martinez without doubt will be the Nerazzurri’s key man this season.
Inter: Handanovic 7, D'Ambrosio 6, Skriniar 8, Dimarco,8, Dumfries 6, Gagliardini 7, Brozovic 7, Calhanoglu 6, Perisic 7, Martinez, 8, Correa 7, Vecino 5, Sensi 6, Sanchez 6, Vidal 6, Dzeko 6.
Spezia: Provedel 8, Amian 6, Erlic 6, Hrstov 6, Kiwior 5, Reca 6, Kovalenko 6, Sala 6, Gyasi 7, Salcedo 5, Manaj 6, Ferrer 6, Bourabia 5, Bastoni 5, Verde 6, Maggiore 5.
35’ - GOALLLLL!!! Inter take the lead! Beautiful one-touch build up play in the lead up here. Dimarco, Calhanoglu and Martinez all involved, with the latter threading through Gagliardini in the box with a simple through ball. The midfielder slots home to grab his first goal of the season.
45+1’ - CHANCE! Spezia have their first clear cut chance of the game - a corner is met well by Kelvin Amian, who forces a good save out of Handanovic. Inter then break at the other end, with Martinez one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but the Argentine's shot is straight at Provedel.
50' - BIG CHANCE! Joaquin Correa smashes the ball against the underside of the bar from the edge of the box! He hit that true, the Inter forward but was very unlucky!
55’ PENALTY FOR INTER! The referee penalises Kiwior as a Martinez shot cannons off his arm! His arm was by his side, but it is still given!
- Inter have won three consecutive games for the first time under Simone Inzaghi.
- Roberto Gagliardini has scored eight of his fifteen Serie A goals against Ligurian sides.
- Lautaro Martinez had six shots on goal - one less than Spezia managed in the entire game.
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