Inter ended Lazio’s run of six consecutive league victories in a 3-1 win on Sunday night, sending Antonio Conte’s side to the top of Serie A.
The game was played at a high tempo from the first whistle, with both Lazio and Inter taking it in turns to test each other’s defence in the opening ten minutes. VAR harshly ruled in favour of an Inter penalty when Wesley Hoedt was adjudged to have fouled Lautaro Martinez. Romelu Lukaku slotted home to give Inter the lead after 21 minutes, but Lazio continued to dominate possession.
For all their dominance, though, Lukaku added a second on the stroke of half time, despite a VAR check for offside.
Lazio looked the better team after the break and found a goal for their dominance after an hour, when Sergej Milinkovic-Savic’s free-kick deflected off Gonzalo Escalante and found the back of the net. The Nerazzurri replied just minutes later, however, when Lukaku slipped through Lautaro Martinez on the counter attack to make it 3-1.
Simone Inzaghi’s side began to tire after conceding the third and Inter continued to see the game out with ease. Nicolo Barella enjoyed more time on the ball and Lukaku was constantly on the hunt for his hat-trick, but couldn’t quite find it as his side held on for all three points.
With one eye now on a likely season-defining Milan derby next weekend, here’s how Inter’s players rated.
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 6/10 – Commanding performance from Handanovic who rushed off his line and out of his box to snuff out Manuel Lazzari. Could do nothing to stop a free kick which took a wicked deflection, but his side hung on for victory in his 500th Serie A appearance.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 8/10 – Dominant as ever, Skriniar made it look easy and was key in helping Inter through a storm of Lazio dominance in the first half. Had nothing to do with Lazio’s goal and played a relentless defensive game.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 7/10 – Kept his defence well organised and led the charge with Inter’s aerial dominance, winning four duels. De Vrij played some lovely long passes, too, which almost released his side on one or two occasions.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 6/10 – The 21-year-old was by no means bad and stepped out well to read oncoming danger, but did show his inexperience at times with a few wild challenges.
Achraf Hakimi (RWB) – 5/10 – An unusually quiet evening in attack for Hakimi. Failed to provide his usual thrust in terms of crosses and overlaps, but also gave away a cheap free kick that allowed Lazio back into the game.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 6/10 – Barella made every touch on the ball look like magic when on the attack. Sharp in tight areas, but was also keen to dig in and do the defensive work in the first half. Quietened off somewhat after the break, but still effective.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 8/10 – Aggressive and led the counter attack for his side. Key in winning back the ball and recycling play. It was his press that saw the ball rebound into the path of Lukaku for his second.
Christian Eriksen (CM) – 7/10 – Played with serious intent and finally looking like the player Inter thought they had signed. Eriksen made a number of key passes through the lines and ran tirelessly in a solid 70 minute outing.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 5/10 – Perisic struggled somewhat with his defensive duties when isolated as the wing back. Enjoyed limited success in attack during the first half, but the game passed him by on the whole.
Romelu Lukaku (ST) – 9/10 – Lukaku was barely in the game with Inter so intent on defending throughout the first half, but still managed to slot away a brace of well-taken strikes. Popped up with an assist to add their third later on, and continued to cause problems late into the game; world class performance.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 8/10 – Perhaps a tad fortunate to win the penalty for Inter, but his well-timed run was what caused the uncertainty and forced Hoedt into the tackle. Some nice passes to find teammates when Inter looked to counter, before adding his side’s third in a fine counter attacking move.
Roberto Gagliardini – 6/10
Alexis Sanchez – 6/10
Danilo D’Ambrosio – N/A
Matteo Darmian – N/A
Andrea Pinamonti – N/A