Inter Milan went back to winning ways in Serie A by edging past a spirited Brescia side 2-1. After Lautaro Martinez had given them the lead with a lucky deflected goal in the 23rd minute, Romelu Lukaku doubled the lead in the 63rd minute with an expert finish. Milan Skriniar’s 76th-minute own goal caused a few nervous moments, but Antonio Conte’s side stuck on to get all three points which saw them return to the top of the table.
Story Behind The Game
Inter started the game strongly, with Romelu Lukaku overpowering his man to head Nicola Barella’s cross wide of the target in the 4th minute. Brescia did their best to frustrate the visitors with their defensive shape before a stroke of luck gave Conte’s side the lead.
Stefan De Vrij won the ball in defence and played it forward to Lautaro Martinez, who took an ambitious shot from a long way out which took a wicked deflection off defender Andrea Cistana before looping into the goal.
This woke up the hosts as Sandro Tonali took a swipe at goal forcing a save from Samir Handanovic minutes later. Cistana and Roberto Gagliardini were both booked before the break after a slight scuffle ensued in the middle.
The hosts began the 2nd half with new-found vigour as Mario Balotelli jumped into life at the 47th minute when he struck a vicious low shot from outside the area, but saw it expertly saved by a diving Handanovic.
Alfredo Donnarumma tried poking in from close range after finding a loose ball from a corner two minutes later, but saw it saved by Handanovic before Balotelli’s attempt to pounce on the rebound failed.
Just when things started getting uncomfortable for Inter, Romelu Lukaku gave them breathing room by scoring the second in the 63rd minute. He drifted in through the right into the middle, before beautifully curling the ball into the net from quite far off the goal.
The Nerazzurri wasted a few opportunities to put the game to bed later on and Mario Balotelli had the perfect opportunity to make them pay in the 73rd minute. He powerfully headed a corner towards the goal, forcing a stellar double save from Handanovic, but the Italian shockingly scuffed the rebound opportunity a meagre few yards out from goal.
But Brescia finally found their goal in the 76th minute, when Dimitri Bisoli moved in from the right-hand side of the box and took an ambitious shot on goal which Milan Skriniar put into his own net. Despite a few late scares, Inter held firm to go top of the Serie A table.
Takeaways from the Game
Lautaro and Lukaku are the best striking duo in Serie A
Ever since he arrived from Manchester United, Romelu Lukaku seems a man reinvigorated under Antonio Conte. But not only has he taken to life at Inter really well, but he’s already formed a deadly partnership with fellow striker Lautaro Martinez. Both players found the net again tonight, with Martinez’s being a lucky strike and Lukaku’s a brilliant curler.
The brilliant chemistry the two different centre-forwards have created is a testament to Conte's prowess, as they’re link-up play, variation in style and understanding of each other’s movement is creating nightmares for defenders. The two strikers are tearing it up in Serie A, having quickly become the league’s most clinical striking duo and taking Inter to new heights.
Sandro Tonali is the next big thing to come from Italy
While Brescia huffed and puffed all game looking to overcome Inter’s rigidity, one player who thrived under the challenge was young Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old was a livewire in their midfield, orchestrating all the chances for the newly-promoted side with a whisk of brilliance. The industrious midfielder worked his socks off getting into the right areas, distributing the ball into space and trying to open up the game.
Moreover, Tonali’s corners terrorized Inter, creating some of the game’s best chances. The youngster is being linked with some top clubs already. This performance, in which he heckled the Nerazzurri’s experienced midfielders, won the ball back numerous times and put in a hard-working shift proves why he truly is Italy’s future.
Samir Handanovic is still the man to save Inter’s blushes
Despite starting with their strongest defensive line-up to counter Brescia’s attacking intensity, Inter were caught wrong-footed on many occasions due to the difficult environment. Things became especially uncomfortable towards the early minutes of the first half, when Balotelli and co barged them with swipes at goal.
But Samir Handanovic was moved. The experienced goalkeeper proved his importance once again, making a string of excellent, vital saves in order to keep his side in the game. He frustrated Brescia with his strong hands as well as precise stops. Despite watching his clean-sheet denied by Skriniar’s own-goal, Handanovic saved his defenders’ blushes on multiple occasions to get the win for Conte’s side.
Romelu Lukaku shone through for the Nerazzurri away from home, hassling Brescia with his physical attributes and running at them with intensity all game. He received his reward with a superb run followed up with a sensational curling finish to score his seventh league goal.
It wasn’t the best defensive performance from Inter, but Diego Godin dug in deep to deny the hosts sniffs at goal. By making crucial clearances, winning aerial duels and marshalling his side forward, the Uruguayan regained his reputation as among the world’s best centre-backs with another compelling showing.