MILAN – Some alarms are more annoying than others. There are those which you try to turn off immediately, and there are also those that give you the adrenaline you need to start the stay. Today, Inter’s alarm went off in the 62nd minute, with Torino having just gone 2-0 up. And when it sounded, Inter’s response was electrifying, ferocious and unstoppable.
Sanchez, Lukaku (twice) and Lautaro all got on the scoresheet. Sirigu was beaten four times and could do absolutely nothing. The first 60 minutes might not have been Inter’s finest hour, but the Nerazzurri know that they can build on what they produced in the final half an hour ahead of Wednesday’s match against Real Madrid. Conte’s men are alive and kicking.
It was, however, a complicated start, and Inter struggled to get going. There were many aspects missing in the first 45 minutes of the match at San Siro. And while the Nerazzurri showed determination and were looking to get on the front foot, that spark was missing. Torino, meanwhile, looked sure of themselves in a 3-5-2 formation that opponents of the Nerazzurri often use, especially at the Meazza. The Granata, who were today led by assistant coach Conti following Marco Giampaolo’s positive COVID-19 test, were without Belotti, who picked up an injury during the warm-up. Zaza replaced him on the pitch, making his third appearance of the season after two months out.
The energy of the Granata centre-forward gave Torino multiple options: they played with width and read play well, defending stoutly. Zaza looked bright, being supported the most by Meité, who was actively involved in moves going forward. Verdi was also lively but was forced to leave the field. Zaza’s movements were the causes for most concern, since the attacker was able to find space, enabling him to test Handanovic’s gloves numerous times.
Inter didn’t fall asleep but lacked ferocity. Sanchez and Lukaku were initially unable to spring each other into action. Lukaku burst forward on numerous occasions, but Sirigu wasn’t tested too much or beaten during the first half. Inter finished the first 45 minutes with zero shots on target. On the other hand, Torino ended the first half with a one-goal advantage: an error by Sanchez followed by an immediate pass up the pitch, an exchange between Bonazzoli and Meité and a backheel put Zaza in a dangerous position. The centre-forward fired the ball into Handanovic’s net with a brilliant left-footed finish.
A response was required in the second half but the assault on Sirigu’s goal wasn’t the most ferocious to begin with, even if Torino had dropped off in terms of tempo. In the 62nd minute, the Granata went two up. Young fouled Singo in the box and a penalty was awarded by La Penna following an on-field review. Former Inter man Ansaldi beat Handanovic to make it 2-0. Was that going to be it for Inter? No chance.
The unexpected second Torino goal fired Inter into a fresh assault at the other end. Lukaku hit the bar, before Sanchez converted to make it 1-2. The tide was turning as Conte brought on Skriniar and Lautaro. Lukaku just missed a chance to equalise before making it 2-2 moments later after Sanchez’s efforts to set him up. Inter were fired up and on the front foot as Ranocchia missed an opportunity to net the third. The game had turned on its head completely with Inter now in complete control.
The substitutes brought fresh energy with the Nerazzurri knocking on the door. In the 82nd minute, Hakimi was brought down by Nkoulou in the area. The Moroccan had started in an offside position, but the Torino defender had touched the ball before bringing down the Nerazzurri player. La Penna went to the monitor and awarded the spot-kick. Lukaku stepped up to send Sirigu the wrong way and make it 3-2. In the 90th minute, Lautaro added a fourth with a lethal finish from Lukaku’s assist. In going from 0-2 to 4-2, Inter showed character, desire and determination to pick up three important points.
INTER 4-2 TORINO
INTER (3-4-1-2): 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio (37 Skriniar 65'), 13 Ranocchia (6 de Vrij 74'), 95 Bastoni; 2 Hakimi, 5 Gagliardini (10 Lautaro 65'), 22 Vidal, 15 Young (14 Perisic 74'); 23 Barella; 9 Lukaku, 7 Sanchez (44 Nainggolan 86').
Substitutions: 35 Stankovic, 97 Radu, 24 Eriksen, 36 Darmian, 42 Moretti, 46 Vezzoni, 51 Wieser.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
TORINO (3-5-2): 39 Sirigu; 3 Bremer, 4 Lyanco, 33 Nkoulou; 17 Singo, 23 Meité, 88 Rincon (20 Edera 85'), 77 Linetty, 15 Ansaldi; 24 Verdi (26 Bonazzoli 42'), 11 Zaza (22 Millico 93').
Substitutions: 25 Rosati, 32 Milinkovic-Savic, 5 Izzo, 6 Segre, 9 Belotti, 13 Rodriguez, 29 Murru, 96 Kryeziu, 99 Buongiorno.
Coach: Francesco Conti.
Goalscorers: 47' Zaza (T), 62' pen. Ansaldi (T), 64' Sanchez (I), 67' and 84' pen. Lukaku (I), 90' Lautaro (I)
Bookings: Verdi (T), D'Ambrosio (I), Bastoni (I), Young (I), Singo (T)
Added time: 2' - 5'.
Referee: La Penna.
Assistants: Cecconi, Di Vuolo.
Fourth Official: Pasqua.
VAR Assistant: Galetto.