Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez were on the scoresheet as Inter Milan thrashed Benevento 4-0 at San Siro on Saturday night.
Just seven minutes into the game, Inter Milan were in front as Benevento forward Riccardo Improta diverted Christian Eriksen’s dangerous free-kick into his own net. The Dane almost scored a second, with his curling effort being saved by the visitors’ goalkeeper before Lautaro Martinez fired over the bar from close-range as half-time arrived.
Eriksen came close again early in the second half, striking the crossbar from 25 yards out before Martinez made it 2-0 in the 57th minute with a low strike. Romelu Lukaku then scored the Nerazzurri’s third with a clinical finish ten minutes later.
The Belgian international got his second goal of the night in the 78th minute as Inter heaped more misery on Benevento, who hardly threatened going forward as Antonio Conte’s men cruised to a thumping victory, staying two points below leaders AC Milan, who won their game against Bologna earlier on Saturday. Here’s how we rated the performances of the Inter Milan players.
Samir Handanovic: 6/10
The Inter Milan captain had absolutely nothing to do in goal on Saturday night with the visitors failing to muster up a single shot on target. Apart from making one clearance from a long ball, Handanovic was a spectator for most of the game.
Milan Skriniar: 6/10
Did not have to exert himself a great deal defensively against a toothless attack, but did stay alert to make a couple of tackles and interceptions. Passed well from the back and made one key pass as well, before being taken off. Looks like he is in need of a rest.
Andrea Ranocchia: 6/10
Replaced Stefan de Vrij at the heart of the Inter Milan defence and the difference was palpable as he does not offer the same quality on the ball as the Dutchman. Dealt comfortably well with Gianluca Lapadula, even though there were a few hairy moments here and there.
Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10
Returning to the lineup at the expense of Aleksandar Kolarov, the Italian enjoyed a solid outing at the back, as he showed good positioning to nip any potential threat in the bud. Won both his aerial duels, made an interception and also produced a key pass.
Achraf Hakimi: 6.5/10
Defended resolutely when he had to and got forward with intent, although he could not always find the end product to back it up. Played one key pass, hit two accurate crosses but was also guilty of missing a chance in the first half. Won six of the eight ground duels he contested.
Nicolo Barella: 6.5/10
Another solid effort from the Italian international, who offered quality on the ball and industry without possession. Engineered a couple of openings for his teammates although it did not lead to much and did his bit off the ball, winning five of his eight ground duels.
Christian Eriksen: 7.5/10
Eriksen vs Benevento
90 minutes played
100 accurate passes (90.1%)
2 Key passes
14 long balls (9 accurate)
1 big chance created
1 shot on target
1 shot at woodwork
1 ground duel won
8.1 rating (sofascore)
Christian Eriksen is back🤩 pic.twitter.com/tojH7jjp2K
— Anton🇩🇰 (@ThfcAnton) January 30, 2021
Having scored the late winner against AC Milan in the cup game last time out, the Dane seems to have found his confidence back as he helped Inter Milan control the game from the deep midfield. Forced the opening goal from his free-kick and almost scored another with a couple of well-hit efforts, one of which was saved while the other hit the crossbar.
Fashioned a couple of chances for his teammates as well and in general, did well in his new role. Work needs to be done on the defensive aspects, but a big step in the right direction for Eriksen.
Roberto Gagliardini: 6/10
With Eriksen deployed in a deeper role, Inter Milan needed someone like Gagliardini to provide more steel and solidity in the middle and he did so against Benevento. Won four of his five ground duels and kept things ticking along with sharp, accurate passes.
Ivan Perisic: 6/10
Getting the nod at left wing-back ahead of the likes of Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian, Perisic saw quite a lot of the ball but was not always able to make the most of it. Made five tackles and an interception, not letting any attacks flourish on his side, but failed to make a single key pass on the night.
Lautaro Martinez: 8/10
Lautaro Martinez scores his 🔟th Serie A goal of the season 🙌 pic.twitter.com/PI1oB0KKYc
— Goal (@goal) January 30, 2021
Had a relatively quiet first period when a missed chance was the only notable contribution from him. Burst into life after the break, with the Argentine having a goal ruled out after pouncing on the rebound from Eriksen’s strike which hit the crossbar. Got his goal soon after, though, to put Inter Milan in the driver’s seat, before setting Lukaku up for the third goal. A productive outing.
Romelu Lukaku: 8/10
Much like his attacking partner, Lukaku, too, had a quiet opening, with the Benevento backline doing well to keep the Inter Milan strikers away from the goal. It all changed after the break, though, as he scored two goals in the space of eleven minutes to fire Inter Milan to a comfortable victory. Clinical in front of goal.
Make that 14 now.
Hot on CR7's heels. https://t.co/SuThY1MNmN
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 30, 2021
Arturo Vidal: 6/10
Sent on in place of Barella in the 64th minute. Kept things moving in the middle and ensured there were no late hiccups.
Alexis Sanchez: 6.5/10
Came on to replace Martinez in the 74th minute. Had some bright moments and got the assist for Lukaku’s goal.
Stefan de Vrij: 6/10
Replaced Skriniar for the final fifteen minutes. Solid as usual.
Stefano Sensi: N/A
On for Gagliardini in the 80th minute.
Andrea Pinamonti: N/A
Marked his return from injury, replacing Lukaku with less than ten minutes left.