Nicolo Barella starred as a late flurry of goals saved Inter Milan from embarrassment before they beat Cagliari 3-1 in Serie A on Sunday.

Inter Milan put their Champions League woes behind them as they came from behind to defeat Cagliari 3-1, scoring three goals in the last 15 minutes.

Inter had started the game very well until the half-hour mark. They created an abundance of chances and had 6 shots on target. Were it not for Alessio Cragno’s heroics, Inter would have had a solid lead by half time as Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and even Christian Eriksen came close to opening the deadlock for the Nerazzurri. 

However, it was Cagliari that took the lead against the run of play through Riccardo Sottil, who scored with a well-placed volley into the far corner of the goal. It was the same story for Inter thereafter as they failed to take their chances and saw themselves go into half-time with a one-goal deficit.

Antonio Conte took charge of things and made some early substitutions. He brought on the in-form Achraf Hakimi and made further changes early in the second half. Inter took charge of things once again and this time took their chance in the 77th minute with a stellar volley by Nicolo Barella from outside the box. Super-sub, Danilo D’Ambrosio completed the comeback with a far-post header from a Barella cross.

However, it was Inter’s front-man that ended things once and for all with the third goal. Lukaku dribbled from his own half, heading towards an empty goal with Cragno placed in an advanced position. Inter Milan showed a lot of spirit to win their fourth consecutive Serie A game and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Conte’s men.

Samir Handanovic: 6/10

Made a couple of decent saves, denying Joao Pedro in the second half. The Inter captain would feel that he could have done better for the Cagliari goal as the volley lacked some pace.

Milan Skriniar: 6/10

A decent game for Skriniar, who has re-established his place in the Inter team. The Slovak made a good first block just prior to Sottil’s volley with which he could not have done much. Lost the ball just 7 times and had a passing accuracy of 94 per cent.

Stefan de Vrij: 7/10

The anchor of Inter’s defence, de Vrij enjoyed a solid game. The Dutchman prevented Cagliari striker Leonardo Pavoletti from having a sniff at goal, making 9 important clearances on the night. Also showed his quality with the ball at his feet, as he registered 2 key passes from the defence.

Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10

Bastoni played some nice diagonal balls from the left to the right and lost the ball just 5 times. He would feel that he could have marshalled the far post a little better when the goal unexpectedly went in, but the Italian had a decent game nonetheless. Bastoni even joined the attack on several occasions.

Matteo Darmian: 6/10

The better wing-back of the two that started, Darmian put in a real shift. His first-half performance deserved a lot of applauds as he delivered some nice crosses. He set up an opportunity for Alexis Sanchez on a plate that the Chilean did well to meet, but a smart stop by Cragno prevented the goal.

Nico Barella: 9/10

Rumoured to have been nursing an ankle injury, Barella was the star of the show for Nerazzurri in what was an elite performance by Inter’s best midfielder. Barella worked his socks off, putting in an immense box to box shift.

He always offered an extra option to Inter while going forward and was the catalyst for Inter’s stunning comeback. A world class volley and a pinpoint assist, Barella was all that Inter needed at the end of this game.

Marcelo Brozovic: 6/10

The usually reliable Brozovic had somewhat of an off-day against Cagliari. The Croat lost the ball cheaply in some dangerous areas which could have hurt Inter Milan. Nonetheless, Brozovic kept the play ticking and ended up playing some nice passes too.

Christian Eriksen: 4/10

Started the game terrifically but soon faded after the half-hour mark. Eriksen set up a brilliant opportunity for Lukaku and also came close to scoring himself. However, his off the ball movement was rather subdued as the Dane looked tired for some reason. He is in desperate need for a move away from the club.

Ivan Perisic: 5/10

An off-day for Perisic, who seemed to not get involved enough. The Croat offered a lot of width but failed to tuck in when required. Got a terrific opportunity towards the end of the first half but dragged his shot wide.

Alexis Sanchez: 7/10

Sanchez worked tremendously hard for Inter Milan after being handed a start ahead of Lautaro Martinez. Sanchez constantly pressed the Cagliari backline and his off the ball movement was very clever. Had 2 good opportunities in the first half, testing Cragno on both occasions. Was unlucky to not have scored a goal for a tireless performance.

Romelu Lukaku: 8/10

It’s still difficult to understand what took Lukaku 94 minutes to finally score a goal in an encounter where he looked dominant. The Belgian had a good opportunity in the first half where perhaps, he took too much time to get his shot away. Ultimately scored the third goal for his team by dribbling into an empty net from the halfway line. Lukaku did well to show his awareness.

SUBSTITUTES

Achraf Hakimi: 5/10

Came on at the halfway mark, but failed to make much of an impact. Was eventually subbed off again for D’Ambrosio due to an undeclared injury.

Ashley Young: 5/10

Started off well right after his introduction but slowly grew out of the game.

Stefano Sensi: 7/10

Sensi was Conte’s best early substitution. The Italian came on for the unimpressive Eriksen and helped Inter take control of the game. His influence on the proceedings was unparalleled.

Lautaro Martinez: 6/10

Martinez looked more like his usual self and grabbed an assist for Inter. The Argentine has now not scored in his last 6 matches in all competitions and is in dire need of a goal.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 7/10

Came on in the 82nd minute and scored the winner in the 84th. It could not have got better for the Italian. D’Ambrosio has scored some crucial goals this season and is proving to be a real asset in the attacking third as well.

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