Alexis Sanchez and Matteo Darmian impressed heavily as Inter Milan defeated Sassuolo 3-0 at the Mapei Stadium in Serie A on Saturday afternoon.

Coming on the back of a disappointing defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League, the pressure was firmly on Inter Milan going up against a Sassuolo side that was unbeaten in Serie A this season.

However, some sloppy defending from Vlad Chiriches meant Inter were able to capitalise early on as Alexis Sanchez slotted home from close range after being teed up by strike partner Lautaro Martinez just four minutes in. Ten minutes later, Antonio Conte’s men were two goals ahead as Chiriches turned Arturo Vidal’s lashed effort into his own net.

The hosts never really recovered from the two early blows as Inter Milan compounded their misery at the hour mark with Roberto Gagliardini’s cracking effort after being found by Matteo Darmian, making it 3-0. Even though Sassuolo dominated possession, they weren’t able to threaten the Nerazzurri goal as Antonio Conte’s side cruised to an easy win.

The victory meant that Inter Milan moved to the second place in the Serie A standings, two points below leaders and local rivals AC Milan, who play Fiorentina later on Sunday. And here’s how we rated the performances of Conte’s men at the Mapei Stadium.

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Samir Handanovic: 6.5/10

Not tested a great deal by the home team, but the Inter Milan skipper stayed alert to whatever threat that came his way, making a couple of decent stops to keep Rogerio and Jeremy Toljan out in the first half. Fairly accurate with his distribution, misplacing just five passes.

Milan Skriniar: 7/10

A solid performance from the Slovakian international, who swept up everything that came his way without much of a difficulty. In addition, Skriniar was precise with his passing, helping Inter Milan build play from the back. Made three interceptions and a match-high eight clearances while completing 45 of his 50 attempted passes. Could have conceded a penalty in the second half though.

Stefan de Vrij: 7/10

Another player who enjoyed a solid afternoon on the field, de Vrij was the leader of the Inter Milan defence, organising things at the back while always being in the right position to cut out any danger. Accurate as ever with his distribution from the back.

Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10

After a couple of dodgy displays, the Italian youngster stepped it up on Saturday and put up a confident showing at the Mapei Stadium. Aggressive with his defending, while he was very positive when on the ball, as he looked to push forward and make things happen. Could have had an assist, while finishing with two interceptions and two clearances.

Matteo Darmian: 8/10

Handed a start at right wing-back ahead of Achraf Hakimi, the former Manchester United man made the most of his opportunity. Given the unenviable task of keeping Jeremie Boga quiet, Darmian did so with great effect, hardly letting the Sassuolo winger past him. Attempted (9) and completed the most number of tackles on the day (5), in a solid defensive display.

At the same time, the Italian international offered an outlet going forward as well, completing two key passes, one of which was a fine assist for Gagliardini’s goal in the second half.

Nicolo Barella: 7/10

An energetic display from the Italian midfielder who time and again thwarted Sassuolo’s midfield from pushing forward, making a match-high four interceptions, while also helping double up on Boga on the flank. Played a role in the lead-up to his team’s third goal.

Roberto Gagliardini: 8/10

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A player that is often at the receiving end of harsh criticism over his place in the side, Gagliardini answered those detractors with a fine performance on Saturday. Stayed back and broke up play effectively and launched attacks, while he chose his moments smartly to push forward. One such move led to the third goal as he unleashed a sumptuous finish past Andrea Consigli in the second half.

Arturo Vidal: 6.5/10

After a dreadful display in midweek against Real Madrid, this was a step towards redemption from the veteran midfielder. Worked hard off the ball offering a combative presence in the middle, while also supporting his teammates in the attacking phase. Made three successful tackles and a couple of important interceptions.

Ivan Perisic: 6.5/10

The Croatian did not offer a great deal of threat in attack but it was his defensive work that stood out on the afternoon. Helped Bastoni deal with the threat of Domenico Berardi and Toljan on his side, while choosing his moments carefully to veer forward. Ended the game with one key pass and five clearances.

Lautaro Martinez: 7.5/10

A lively presence at the top whose movement and link-up play caused a lot of problems to the hosts. Set Sanchez up for the opening goal after putting pressure and winning the ball. Could have doubled his team’s tally soon after if not for a terrific save from Consigli. Had two more chances before half-time but both of his efforts went narrowly wide.

Alexis Sanchez: 8/10

Starting ahead of Romelu Lukaku, the Chilean international looked hungry from the get-go, pressing hard from the front while dropping smartly in between the lines to receive the ball from his teammates. Made no mistake after being set up by Martinez. Kept making good runs throughout and also completed two key passes on the day.

Substitutes

Romelu Lukaku: N/A

Came on for Martinez in the 80th minute. Found the back of the net but the goal was ruled out rightly for offside.

Ashley Young: N/A

Thrown on in place of Sanchez for the last ten minutes. Added more energy and vigour down the flank.

Christian Eriksen: N/A

Replaced Perisic in the 85th minute. Did little of note.

Stefano Sensi: N/A

Came on for Barella for the final five minutes. Being eased back into action after a lengthy injury layoff.

Achraf Hakimi: N/A

Stoppage time substitute for Darmian.

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