Inter Milan cruised to a 3-0 win against struggling Sampdoria as Simone Inzaghi’s side continued their fine form in Serie A.
Stefan de Vrij opened the scoring with a powerful header, before Nicolo Barella doubled the hosts’ lead with an excellent strike seconds before the break.
Joaquin Correa came off the bench to secure the three points with 17 minutes left on the clock, as Inter claimed their fourth consecutive win in Serie A.
Inter took the lead through a De Vrij header a little over 20 minutes into the game. The centre back rose highest to attack the ball and head the hosts into a deserved lead.
On the stroke of half time, Barella doubled Inter’s advantage as he continued his fine goalscoring form. Alessandro Bastoni floated an inviting lofted pass over the top of the Sampdoria defence, which Barella had snuck in behind, before taking the ball down spectacularly and hammering an effort beyond Emil Audero.
Minutes into the second half, Inter came close to a third but were denied by an Audero save. Edin Dzeko found himself through on goal and tried to poke an effort across the Sampdoria goalkeeper, but a crucial Audero finger diverted the ball behind for a corner.
Inter had another chance to stretch the lead to three when captain Milan Skriniar could only watch Federico Dimarco’s free-kick flash across goal, after he grazed a free header from close range wide.
Inzaghi’s side finally found the third through substitute Correa four minutes after coming off the bench. The ball stuck to his feet like glue as he drove towards goal, before unleashing a powerful strike from the edge of the box which beat Audero at the near post.
The win lifted Inter into the top five, level on points with fourth place Atalanta, whilst Sampdoria missed the chance to escape the bottom three and remained 18th.
TALKING POINT – INTER CRUISE TO FOURTH WIN ON THE BOUNCE
Inter Milan went into the game in really good form and despite sitting outside the European places, only needed a win to get themselves right back in the mix. They had a good week beating Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League to reach the knockout stages, and were boosted by the return of Romelu Lukaku who came off the bench to score a goal on his return after two months out.
They now sit fifth, level on points with fourth place Atalanta, and have overtaken the likes of AS Roma and Juventus in a thoroughly competitive top eight. They still have work to do as they lie eight points adrift from league leaders Napoli, but they will fancy their chances to have a run at the title after recent performances, and especially welcoming back key players they’ve missed through injury.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – HAKAN CALHANOGLU (INTER MILAN)
Calhanoglu put in the complete midfield performance for Inter. He was all over the pitch, defensively and going forward, putting the most tackles in during the match, as well as creating the most chances.
He had one of those games where you didn’t really notice him because he was doing everything right. It was a faultless performance from the Turkey international, which he topped off with an assist.
INTER: Onana 8, Skriniar 8, De Vrij 8, Bastoni 8, Dumfries 7, Barella 9, Calhanoglu 9, Mkhitaryan 8, Dimarco 8, Martinez 7, Dzeko 7
Subs: Acerbi 7, Bellanova 6, Asllani N/A, Correa 8, Lukaku 6
SAMPDORIA: Audero 6, Ferrari 7, Colley 6, Amione 6, Bereszynski 6, Yepes 7, Villar 6, Djuricic 6, Leris 6, Caputo 6, Gabbiadini 6
Subs: Verre 6, Rincon 6, Vieira 6, Pussetto 6, Montevago 6
21’ – GOAL! INTER MILAN 1-0 SAMPDORIA (DE VRIJ) – There’s the opening goal! Stefan de Vrij with a brilliant header from a corner, rising higher than anyone else to head Inter into the lead!
44’ – GOAL! INTER MILAN 2-0 SAMPDORIA (BARELLA) – He runs in behind the Sampdoria defence to get on the end of a Bastoni ball over the top, takes a brilliant first touch before hammering his effort beyond Audero.
49’ – INTER COME SO CLOSE TO A THIRD! – It’s a brilliant save from Audero! Dzeko is put through on goal and looks to poke an effort across Audero, but the goalkeeper gets a crucial finger to the ball!
73’ – GOAL! INTER MILAN 3-0 SAMPDORIA (CORREA) – What a finish from Correa! The ball sticks to his feet like glue as he drives towards goal, before unleashing a powerful strike from the edge of the box which beats Audero at his near post.