Inter Milan 1-0 Udinese: The Nerazzurri
retain top spot after narrow win over 10-man Udinese 
Photo Credit(gettyimages/ClaudioVilla)

Inter Milan continued their unbeaten run under Antonio Conte, defeating Udinese 1-0 at the San Siro on Saturday. A first-half strike from Stefano Sensi was enough to give the Nerazzurri all three points after Rodrigo De Paul had been sent off for a reckless scuffle with Antonio Candreva in the first half. Inter retain their spot at the Serie A pinnacle before heading into the Milan Derby next week.

Story of the Match

Diego Godin made his full debut for the Nerazzurri, while Matteo Politano was given the nod over Lautaro Martinez. The young striker almost instantly repaid his manager’s faith, striking the post in the fourth minute after a thunderous shot from afar.

The hosts had another chance to take the lead in the 16th minute, when Stefano Sensi tried to play through Romelu Lukaku, only for the rebounded clearance to fall for him to volley, forcing a strong save from Juan Musso. Wallace tested Samir Handanovic’s resolve in the 25th minute, but the towering goalkeeper parried it well.

However, controversy ensued in the 35th minute when Antonio Candreva was slapped down by Rodrigo De Paul, who after VAR’s intervention, was given the marching orders reducing Udinese to 10 men with almost under an hour remaining. Inter almost found the breakthrough via Politano’s free-kick four minutes later, but Musso parried it out smartly.

However, the hosts took the lead in the 44th minute when Diego Godin’s inviting cross from the right was powerfully headed in by a diving Stefano Sensi to lift the roof off the San Siro before half-time.

Udinese almost received their equalizer in the 52nd minute when Kevin Lasagne got behind Inter’s backline, but his shot was parried away strongly by Handanovic. Substitute Roberto Gagliardini also blended into the action quickly, having his emphatic shot from long tipped over by Musso just after the hour mark.

Sensi almost completed his brace with a curling free-kick in the 76th minute but saw Musso tip it just over. Alexis Sanchez made his Inter debut and almost received his debut goal after Candreva had cut it back for him pretty well, but the Chilean’s shot was saved bravely by the goalkeeper.

Inter huffed and puffed, but that solitary goal ended up being enough to help them make it three-in-three in the Antonio Conte era.

Takeaways from the Game

Stefano Sensi could be Conte’s brightest buy this summer

As all eyes were on Romelu Lukaku to continue his goal-scoring run for Inter Milan, Stefano Sensi ended up stealing the spotlight once again. The Italian has turned out an absolute revelation under Antonio Conte, acting as an explosive figure down the middle. Not only did he distribute the ball cleverly to create chances, force a solid save from Musso, but the fact that 5’6’ ft midfielder scored that thumping header proves his dynamic talent. Sensi can do it all when it comes to lighting things up in attack, as his growing influence probably proves he’s Inter’s best signing this season.

Udinese must be sharper in order to score goals

Udinese definitely didn’t back out of the fight against Inter with their tails whimpering but took the game to the Nerazzurri Despite going down to 10 men due to De Paul’s brain fade before the half-time break, they didn’t break their resolve nor park the bus hoping for the best. They did create chances, but the finishing wasn’t strong enough to oust the reliable Samir Handanovic. Kevin Lasagna had a good chance to score in the second half, while a few other attempts were on targets are well. However, they lacked the killing blow on the day and must work harder with improving their finishing in order to gain more points in Serie A as the season moves on.

Romelu Lukaku still has work to do

Romelu Lukaku aimed to continue his impressive goal-scoring streak of three in a row but was thrown a curveball as Conte decided to play youngster Matteo Politano. While he blazed open his side’s attack with clever movement and some lethal shots, Lukaku found himself isolated again. Despite a few half-decent touches, he didn’t get many sights at goal at all. He was nullified by Udinese’s strong defensive line, but in order to dominate Serie A, the Belgian must learn how to overpower deep defences. Be it getting sharper with his movement, improving his striking ability or first-touch, Lukaku’s still learning the Serie A way a month into his new life.

Standout Players

Stefano Sensi continued his admirable form in club colours, scoring a stunning header despite his shorter size. The Italian is loving life under Antonio Conte’s system, as he showcased impressive attacking vigour with his brisk movement, creative vision as well as explosive strikes. He’s getting only better, but his unpredictable nature thwarted Udinese today.