GENOA - Another win, Inter’s sixth in a row. The Nerazzurri continued their perfect start to the season with another winning performance. This victory was different from all the others because it came following a perfect first-half performance and a second half where Inter were forced to play with ten men following Sanchez’s sending off. This was a match full of drama and protagonists, with Antonio Conte’s side eventually finishing up as 3-1 winners away to Sampdoria. Inter remain top of the league outright and will now be focused on their next fixture: a Champions League clash against Barcelona in Spain on Wednesday.
Sensi and Sanchez lit up the match in the space of two first-half minutes: two shots from the midfielder were diverted into the net by the Chilean striker (the first somewhat fortuitously) as Inter took control. Alexis, who was making his first start for the Club, was then sent off after receiving a second yellow just a minute into the second half. Samp got back into it through Jankto, but Gagliardini eased Inter’s nerves with another goal shortly afterwards. This was a demonstration of mentality and strength, despite the numerical disadvantage.
In the opening few minutes, the match was a nervy affair and more of a physical battle than a tactical one. In the twelfth minute, Bastoni, who was making his competitive debut, headed just off target. A first sign of attacking life from Conte’s men, who were looking to win the ball high up the pitch. Sanchez managed to do just this as he found Lautaro in the box shortly afterwards, but Argentine forward couldn’t finish it off. But Inter didn’t have to wait long to get the opener: with Inter pressing high once again, Brozovic found Sensi, whose powerful strike deflected off Sanchez, beat Audero and nestled in the net.
This goal opened the game up and the Nerazzurri immediately grabbed their second. Asamoah found Sensi, who miscued his shot somewhat. However, Sanchez was there to tap the ball home and double Inter’s advantage. The goal was given by referee Calvarese after a VAR check.
A total of two minutes and eight seconds separated the two goals, and both came about thanks to the Sensi-Sanchez combination. The first might have been slightly lucky, but the second was brilliant reading of the play by the Chilean. Note: despite the ball coming off Sanchez for the first goal, Lega Calcio rules mean that it was actually Sensi’s (if a shot inadvertently comes off a teammate and goes in, the goal is awarded to the player who originally had the effort on goal).
Down by two goals, Sampdoria were finding life difficult and leaving Inter to control the game. With 36 minutes on the clock, Candreva thought he’d made it three, but the linesman’s flag was up for offside. In the 38th minute, Lautaro got on the end of a fantastic Bastoni ball but dragged his shot wide. With the half coming to a close, Sensi and Lautaro looked to extend the Nerazzurri’s lead after 42 and 43 minutes respectively, but neither succeeded in doing so. In the 44th minute, Handanovic was there to make a comfortable save to deny the home side as Sampdoria showed a rather timid response.
The moment to open the match right back up came in the very first minute of the second half: Lautaro did brilliantly to break through on goal and fired off a shot, Audero saved brilliantly, but the rebound fell to Sanchez who took one touch and then hit the floor. In the eyes of the referee it was a dive, and as a result a second yellow (the Chilean had already been booked in the first half). Even with ten men the Nerazzurri did not give up their attacking state of mind, but Sampdoria found a goal in the 55th minute with Jankto: he received it in the box and his left-footed effort deflected off Skriniar and flew into the corner. Along with the numerical advantage, they were then just one goal from completing the comeback. Instead, Inter refused to lie down and continued to dominate play. Lukaku and D’Ambrosio came on, but it was Gagliardini who scored the third: the goal arrived in the 61st minute and it was all thanks to Brozovic’s vision as he played a sublime pass to play in his teammate. A touch from Gagliardini and a save from Audero, but it was the Italian midfielder who was first to the rebound to put the ball into the net. A hugely important goal.
A blow for Sampdoria, who then threw everything they had at Inter, bringing on two strikers to bolster their attack. An unsuccessful attempt thanks to a superb Nerazzurri defensive performance. Lukaku even got close to a fourth for Inter with his header from a corner deflected behind. Despite all of Sampdoria’s best efforts, Inter didn’t encounter too much trouble at the back. In the 86th minute, after a good break, Lukaku tried to chip Audero but the Sampdoria goalkeeper read his intentions. Sampdoria’s best chance fell to Quagliarella in the 90th minute, but he directed his header over the bar. In the 93rd minute Handanovic made a great save from Vieira’s effort heading for the top corner, and a few seconds later from the resulting corner, Quagliarella placed his effort wide from just yards out.
It ended 3-1. A tough match in which the Nerazzurri had to show all of their best qualities: an offensive and bold approach, high pressing, the ability to withstand any pressure, compactness when down to ten men and excellent attacking creativity.
Now we turn to the Champions League as we travel to Barcelona on Wednesday. #ForzaInter forever!
SAMPDORIA 1-3 INTER
SAMPDORIA (3-4-2-1): 1 Audero; 24 Bereszynski, 5 Chabot, 15 Colley; 12 Depaoli (9 Bonazzoli 56'), 7 Linetty (17 Caprari 73'), 6 Ekdal (4 Vieira 69'), 39 Murru; 10 Rigoni, 14 Jankto; 27 Quagliarella.
Substitutes: 28 Raspa, 30 Falcone, 3 Augello, 8 Barreto, 11 Ramirez, 18 Thorsby, 19 Regini, 25 Ferrari, 26 Leris.
Coach: Eusebio Di Francesco
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 De Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 87 Candreva (33 D'Ambrosio 57'), 5 Gagliardini, 77 Brozovic, 12 Sensi (23 Barella 65'), 18 Asamoah; 10 Lautaro Martinez (9 Lukaku 56'), 7 Sanchez.
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 2 Godin, 13 Ranocchia, 8 Vecino, 19 Lazaro, 20 Borja Valero, 21 Dimarco, 34 Biraghi, 16 Politano.
Coach: Antonio Conte
Scorers: 20' Sensi (I), 22' Sanchez (I), 55' Jankto (S), 61' Gagliardini (I)
Bookings: Bastoni (I), Rigoni (S), Linetty (S), Skriniar (I)
Red card: Sanchez 46' for a second booking
Added time: 3' - 4'
Assistants: Bindoni, Galetto
Fourth official: Irrati
VAR and Assistant VAR: Pasqua, Mondin