Serie A Club of the Round – Inter


Napoli tried their best to win the coveted award of team of the week and were a little more dazzling that Inter, but the goal by Francesco Caputo did them in and the Nerazzurri managed to match the number of goal scored, therefore running away with the trophy.

The Milan-based club approached the game riding a six-game winning streak, which allowed them to reach the second position in the standings alongside the Partenopei. With the seminal Barcelona clash coming up, Luciano Spalletti opted for a deep rotation and started Danilo D’Ambrosio, Dalbert, Roberto Gagliardini, Joao Mario and Lautaro Martinez, revolutionizing his usual XI and giving a breather to Sime Vrsaljko, Matias Vecino and Mauro Icardi, while Radja Nainggolan made his return to the bench after missing time with a sprained ankle.

The back-up brigade came through against Genoa, which did not receive the spark they were looking for from the coaching change, nor improved their defensive phase, whose softness led to the ousting of Davide Ballardini. Serie A’s leading scorer Krzysztof Piatek was initially rested.

Martinez had a big chance in the early going on a long cross from Matteo Politano, but he badly kick it over the crossbar. It ended up being one of the few scoring opportunities that the Biscione did not exploit. After a pair of attempts from distance by Ivan Perisic and Matteo Politano, the home team broke the deadlock with Roberto Gagliardini, who took advantage of Mario barging his way in the box and of an inadvertent backwards touch by a defender to score from the six-yard box line. Politano doubled the score almost immediately, beating the lackadaisical Darko Lazovic on a through ball by the Portuguese midfielder and finishing with a lefty cross-shot in the one-on-one with Andrei Radu.

Four minutes into the second half, Gagliardini bagged his second one on a deep throw-in, where he flicked the ball on for Perisic, whose tap-in was saved just in time by the goalie, but the ex-Atalanta man pounced on the rebound. Samir Handanovic had his only saves on a feeble header by Piatek and on deflected shot by Miguel Veloso before Inter truly piled on.

In the final minutes, Mario slotted it in the bottom left corner from the edge of the box, officially making peace with his fans. A little later, he fed the trailing Radja Nainngolan with a sweet cross and the Ninja easily buried a header from close range.

Even though it did not necessarily involved some of the most popular players, it was a very rich haul in the fantasy game: Mario and Gagliardini paced the teammates with ten points, followed by Handanovic with seven and Nainggolan with six. The back-line garnered five for the clean sheet, with Danilo D’Ambrosio losing one because of a yellow card, while the rest of the midfielders got two for the same reason. Balde Keita assisted Mario’s conclusion and therefore earned two points.

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