REGGIO EMILIA – Inter came from behind to claim a 2-1 victory away at Sassuolo to continue their unbeaten start to the campaign.
Having fallen behind to a Domenico Berardi penalty in the first half, Inter had their work cut out. Yet as they have done on many occasions already this season it was dream duo Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez who came to Inter’s rescue this evening. The Bosnian found the net with a neat header with half an hour to go before Lautaro kept his cool to score the winner from the spot later on.
There are some evenings where you feel things just won’t go your way. You’re just lacking verve and a touch of class, and you feel that you’re destined to spend the following day licking your wounds and cursing. Such thoughts may have crossed Simone Inzaghi’s mind, but he was in no mood for throwing in the towel. When Inter were the most under the kosh, trailing 1-0 away to Sassuolo with half an hour to play, Inzaghi produced his masterstroke. The Nerazzurri coach made four changes in one fell swoop, and only 33 seconds later Inter were level. 20 further minutes down the line and his side had humbled the hosts to take a 2-1 lead. Substitute Dzeko needed no time at all to find the net and Lautaro sealed the win with his spot kick, a throwback to October two years back when he also found the net from a penalty. Inter come away with a victory, and now sit on 17 points in the table with 22 goals to their name. The Nerazzurri machine rolls on.
At the start Sassuolo suffocated Inter’s attempts to play it out from the back and were quick to react to changes in possession. Jeramie Boga was the busiest and most inspired of the home side’s players, and Domenico Berardi was as threatening as always against the Nerazzurri. However, Inter also had their good moments early on, prying for weaknesses in the host’s defence. Backed by a vocal travelling contingent, Inter were strong out of the blocks and nearly found the net through Nicolo Barella, but the midfielder shot wide after the end of a good move. The tempo never relented, and Defrel was soon testing Samir Handanovic at the other end.
At times Inter fell short when it came to overcoming Sassuolo’s pressure. They made too many mistakes during build up play, conceding possession in important situations. It was through this very scenario which Sassuolo took the lead after 22 minutes. Boga found his way into the area and was then felled by Milan Skriniar. Berardi converted the resulting penalty, despite Handanovic’s best attempts to keep the ball out.
Barella tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck and produce a reaction for his side. He gave Andrea Consigli a couple of scares, while Ivan Peresic would have scored had it not been for Defrel’s intervention. However, Inter were unable to find any real rhythm, and while having some chances from free kicks and trying their luck down the flanks, chances were fewer than earlier on in the encounter. The first half ended with a further scare for the visitors, with Defrel hitting the deck in a collision with Handanovic having capitalised on de Vrij’s error. The referee was having none of it, much to Inter’s delight.
Following the half time break it seemed that Inter were on the verge of falling further behind. Buoyed by their home fans, Sassuolo had the Nerazzurri on the ropes. The visitors were almost surprised by the verve of Dionisi’s side, with Rogerio and Boga in particular enjoying themselves. Handanovic kept Inter in the game with vital saves from Rogerio and pulling off a real stop from Sassuolo’s Ivorian striker.
It was at the most challenging point of the match when Inzaghi decided to shake things up. In the 57th minute he threw on Federico Dimarco, Matteo Darmian, Arturo Vidal and Edin Dzeko. Before Sassuolo even had a chance to assimilate the new Inter approach the game had already changed. Ivan Perisic whipped in an inviting ball and Dzeko nodded home to make it 1-1, having only been on the pitch for 33 seconds.
A hammer blow for Sassuolo, one which took the winds out of their sails. Inter then took the game by the scruff of the neck, growing further into the game and playing to their best. Dzeko led the line expertly, tormenting the host’s defence. The game had turned on its head, Sassuolo had lost their sense of boldness, trying to revert proceedings in fits and starts through Boga.
Inter showed their intelligent game management and wise decision making, their substitutes achieving what the starters hadn’t managed to put into practice. In the 76th minute a testing ball from Marcelo Brozovic saw Dzeko one-on-one with Consigli, who brought him down. The Sassuolo keeper saw yellow before Lautaro did what he knows best and smashed home the spot kick to complete the comeback.
There was still much to play for, and Inter nearly made it 3-1 in the 81st minute through Dzeko, his strike ruled out for offside. Inter delt with familiar Sassuolo attacks and held on through four minutes of injury time to claim victory. A sweet away win for the Nerazzurri.
Scorers: 22 Berardi (S) (P), 58 Dzeko (I), 78 Lautaro (I) (P).
SASSUOLO (4-2-3-1): 47 Consigli; 17 Muldur, 21 Chiriches, 31 Ferrari, 6 Rogerio; 8 Lopez, 16 Frattesi (91 Scamacca, 86); 25 Berardi, 10 Djuricic (23 Traore, 75), 7 Boga; 92 Defrel (18 Raspadori, 64).
Subs not used: 56 Pegolo, 3 Goldaniga, 4 Magnanelli, 5 Ayhan, 13 Peluso, 20 Harroui, 22 Toljan, 77 Kyriakopoulos, 97 Henrique.
Coach: Alessio Dionisi.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni (32 Dimarco, 57); 2 Dumfries (36 Darmian, 57), 23 Barella, 77 Brozovic, 20 Calhanoglu (22 Vidal, 57), 14 Perisic; 10 Lautaro (33 D’Ambrosio, 89), 19 Correa (9 Dzeko, 57).
Subs not used: 21 Cordaz, 97 Radu, 5 Gagliardini, 7 Sanchez, 8 Vecino, 11 Kolarov, 13 Ranocchia.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
Other: Inzaghi booked (I).
Assistants: Longo, Margani.
Fourth Official: Gariglio.
Assistant VAR: Peretti.