The midweek round was not particularly electric, so the choice falls on the most anticipated match-up of the slate, which was eventful albeit being low-scoring, also because Atalanta got the nod as best club.
Inter came into the match looking to improve to 5-0 in the season, while Lazio had redeemed themselves for the horrible loss to SPAL with a commanding with over Parma. Antonio Conte rotated the squad and rested some of his key guys like Stefano Sensi and Lautaro Martinez, replaced by Matias Vecino and Matteo Politano, and Cristiano Biraghi drew his first start relieving Kwadwo Asamoah. After their very public confrontation following a substitution in the previous contest, Simone Inzaghi benched Ciro Immobile and picked Felipe Caicedo up front, and chose Bastos to fill in for Stefan Radu in the back, who was sick. Jony played over Senad Lulic on the left flank and this turned out to be very meaningful.
Samir Handanovic started his show in the early going by coming out just in the nick of time on Caicedo, who was trying to pounce on a poor backwards pass. The Nerazzurri got the lead at the 23rd minute, as Biraghi was allowed to cross freely and picked out Danilo D’Ambrosio on the far post, who was no match in the air for a distracted Jony and knocked it on goal with a thumping header.
The goal triggered an instant reaction by the opponents, but the Beneamata captain tipped over the bar a lovely curl by Joaquin Correa. Romelu Lukaku tried to fire it home from distance, but his shot was just wide. Caicedo and Correa combined beautifully in the final third, but the Argentinian forward did not chip it over the goalie correctly in a one-on-one situation. Then again Correa found room in the box and slotted in on the bottom right corner, but Handanovic managed to palm it away despite the close distance. He pulled off a similar save right before half time, but on the other side of the goal and this time on a robust attempt by Bastos, who had stayed in the box after a set piece.
The Biancocelesti continue to push, but it was not Correa’s night and, despite being left unguarded in the on a corner kick, he sent his header wide. Inter had two major chances near the one hour-mark, as Nicolò Barella wiggled free in the box, but was denied by Thomas Strokosha coming out and the goalie quickly recovered his position and rejected with his foot the subsequent effort by Politano form the edge of the box.
The Nerazzurri did manage to ice the game in the final portion and created some opportunities for Lukaku and Sensi from distance. The Roma-based side had no juice left and Lautaro Martinez had the final chance after stripping a defender in the box, but he was unable to find the mark.
Inter stayed perfect and kept Juventus behind in the standings; they will pay a visit to Sampdoria on Saturday. Lazio find themselves in the middle of the pack after being surpassed by a bunch of teams, since they have won just once in the last four fixtures, and will instead host Genoa in the weekend.
A ripe game fantasy-wise for the Nerazzurri, as Handanovic paced everybody with his seven points, followed by D’Ambrosio (8) and Biraghi (7). Their vaunted trio of centre-backs got five, while the midfielders earned two for contributing to the clean sheet. D’Ambrosio and Martinez were the only ones that were booked. No point-getters for the Eagles and Alberto, Bastos and Parolo received a yellow card.
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