Udinese’s brilliant start to the season continued as the Bianconeri made it five straight Serie A victories for the first time since 2017 with a 3-1 win over Inter Milan at the Dacia Arena.
Prior to the fixture, Andrea Sottil’s Udinese side had been on a fine run of league form and sat above Inter in the table going into a matchday for the first time since 2017.
However, Simone Inzaghi’s side struck first within five minutes as Nicolo Barella bent a superb free-kick into the top-left corner of the net from 20-yards out to score his second goal of the season for the Nerazzurri.
Udinese, who looked the better side in possession, then found a deserved equaliser with a slice of good fortune in the 22nd minute, as Gerard Deulofeu’s free-kick found its way into Samir Handanovic’s net off the arm of Inter defender Milan Skriniar.
Then 10 minutes into the second half, Inter had the ball in the net through Edin Dzeko, but the forward’s effort was ruled out for offside.
Udinese had a big chance to win it with just over 15 minutes to play, but Deulofeu’s low strike towards the far post from inside the penalty area cannoned back off the far post.
With six minutes to play, Udinese found the goal they were looking for to take the lead. Deulofeu’s corner towards the near post was met by a powerful header by Jaka Bijol, whose effort flew past Handanovic in the Inter goal.
A famous win was sealed for the Bianconeri in injury time, as another Deulofeu cross into the penalty area was headed into the roof of the net by substitute Tolgay Arslan to seal the three points for Udinese, and give them their first league win over Inter in five years.
TALKING POINT – UDINESE EQUAL BEST-EVER START TO LEAGUE SEASON
What a start to the new season it has been for Udinese, as this win means they have now matched their best-ever start to a Serie A season, which was back in 2000/01. Andrea Sottil, who has been a revelation at the Dacia Arena since taking the helm of the Udine-based club in June, has guided his Bianconeri side to five straight league victories for the first time in five years. If this form continues, Udinese could make a challenge for European football this season, which was completely unexpected before the start of the campaign.
Their attractive style of play is pleasing to the eye, and they cannot be underestimated by any side in Serie A from here on in, as this win against Inter Milan becomes their second big scalp of the new season after a 4-0 thrashing of Roma back at the start of September.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – GERARD DEULOFEU
The 28-year-old Spaniard, who is well-known to both Watford and Everton fans in the Premier League, put in a sensational performance for Udinese this afternoon as he registered two assists, and looked extremely dangerous from set-piece deliveries.
Both of his direct goal contributions came from crosses, which Inter dealt with miserably on each occasion. The forward could’ve also had a goal to show for his efforts today, as he saw a low strike from inside the area hit the bottom of the far post in the second half.
In total, Deulofeu made six key passes during the 90 minutes – twice the number of any other player on the pitch.
Udinese: Silvestri 6, Becao 7, Bijol 8, Perez 7, Pereyra 5, Lovric 7, Walace 6, Makengo 7, Udogie 6, Beto 6, Deulofeu 9. Subs: Success 6, Ehizibue 6, Samardzic 6, Arslan 7, Ebosse 6.
Inter Milan: Handanovic 6, Skriniar 5, Acerbi 6, Bastoni 6, Darmian 6, Mkhitaryan 5, Brozovic 6, Barella 7, Dumfries 6, Dzeko 7, Martinez 6. Subs: De Vrij 6, Dimarco 6, D’Ambrosio 6, Gagliardini 6, Correa 5.
5’ – GOAL! (Nicolo Barella) – Inter win a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the area, which Barella is standing over after Perez fouls Darmian. He curls the free-kick from 20-yards out right into the top-left corner, leaving Silvestri with no chance in the Udinese goal. Sensational.
22’ – OWN GOAL! (Milan Skriniar) – What an odd goal there! Deulofeu whips in the free-kick from 25-yards towards the back post, and it comes off the arm of Skriniar and goes into the back of the net past Handanovic. The home side are back in the game! After a quick check by the referee, the goal stands.
74′ – OFF THE POST! – Udinese have a big chance to take the lead! Deulofeu’s shot from inside the area cannons back off the bottom of the far post! The rebound finds Samardzic but his shot is blocked. Ehizibue then sees his first-time effort take several deflections. Lovric then goes for the spectacular with an overhead kick attempt, but it goes straight into the arms of Handanovic, who will certainly be breathing a sigh of relief. How did Inter survive?
84′ – GOAL! (Jaka Bijol) – Bijol strikes from a set-piece to send the crowd wild! The corner comes in from Deulofeu towards the near post, and Bijol peels away from his man to send a bullet header past Handanovic. That is his first goal for his new club and what a time to score it!
90+3′ – GOAL! (Tolgay Arslan) – What an afternoon for the Bianconeri! Deulofeu has yet another assist here, as his cross from the right is not dealt with at all by the Inter defence, and Arslan has a diving header at the back post, which he sends past Handanovic into the roof of the net.