Inter returned to the top of Serie A with a hard-fought 2-1 victory at home against Lazio on Sunday night.
In the opening match of 2022, delayed after a mid-week meeting with Bologna never materialized, Inter rattled the ball with a sneak that contradicts the 18-day wait for return to the pitch.
Lautaro Martinez had the ball in the net in the 17th minute but was denied a 12th goal in the campaign by a VAR for offside in the whiskers. Inter put Lazio in on their own half of the field for long distances and set up the press when Stefan de Vrij and Lautaro again came close.
Alessandro Bastoni proved the unlikely source of Inter’s opener. He stabilized as he collected a half cleared corner, Inter’s midfielder stepped a 25-yard effort through a clumsy box and into the bottom corner half an hour into.
Still, Inter had barely finished their second version of the celebration before Ciro Immobile beat the Lazio level completely against the course of the game. The visiting skipper ruthlessly took advantage of a collective blackout from De Vrij and Milan Skriniar and threw himself sharply against the ball which Danilo Cataldi carelessly hit over the top.
Lazio gained good momentum after taking Inter’s first concession in Serie A for the best part of ten hours of football with bright moments on both sides in half time.
But when Inter played with a calm conviction, they stuck to their patient passing game. Ivan Perisic should probably have put his team up another goal after 67 minutes, but some great goalkeeping by Bastoni kept the visitors in the game.
The visitors huffed and puffed until the final whistle but could not prevent Inter from extending their winning streak to eight league matches on the spin.
What a strike from Alessandro Bastoni! ?
Inter’s young midfielder takes aim outside the box and finds the bottom corner? pic.twitter.com/iMn1O9lmOu
– Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 9, 2022
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 5/10 – Made his best Superman impression to knock the ball away from Immobile but left and sweated embarrassingly in empty nothing.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 6/10 – Constantly eager to sneak into midfield, Skriniar was knocked off the ball far too easily for a rare mistake he corrected himself.
Stefan de Vrij (CB) – 6/10 – De Vrij sprayed passes to either flank and had a chance to open goals before playing a damaging role as they were squeezed back in a moment of misjudgment.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 8/10 – A goal, an assist and Felipe Anderson really in his pocket at the end of an impressive evening.
Ivan Perisic (right) holds Luiz Felipe in check / Giuseppe Cottini / GettyImages
Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 7/10 – Communicated excellently with their defensive-minded teammates in the transition while bouncing forward repeatedly.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 6/10 – When he let in the back line and broke forward along with the team’s striker, Barella was desperate to be involved across the pitch.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 7/10 – Played with a windy, almost incompetent strut, there were one or two nervous moments for Inter’s relaxed register in an otherwise sneaky instrumental show.
Roberto Gagliardini (CM) – 5/10 – Walks around the edge of the competition without forcing himself on the procedure.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 7/10 – Perisic was a constant outlet for the big game change, and Perisic avoided his defensive tasks.
Alexis Sanchez (right) had a wonderfully designed assist ruled out for offside / Giuseppe Cottini / GettyImages
Alexis Sanchez (ST) – 7/10 – Given a license to roam against the Romans, Sanchez peppered the game with some delicate link play.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 5/10 – Inter’s top scorer will regret the narrow margins in his failed goal.
? | REPLACEMENTS
? @DarmianOfficial? @ DenzelJMD2 # ForzaInter #InterLazio pic.twitter.com/HJ69V6F0aB
– Inter ??? (@Inter_en) January 9, 2022
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 5/10
Joaquin Correa (ST) – 5/10
Matteo Darmian (RWB) – N / A
Arturo Vidal (CM) – N / A
Federico Dimarco (LWB) – N / A
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