Nicolo Barella and Ivan Perisic scored as Inter Milan beat Fiorentina 2-0 at Stadio Artemio Franchi on Friday night to take the top spot in the Serie A standings.
Inter Milan started on the front foot and could have led just six minutes in if not for Bartlomiej Dragowski pulling off a splendid save to deny Nicolo Barella. However, the Italian international beat the Fiorentina goalkeeper with a wonderful curling strike in the 31st minute to put the Nerazzurri ahead.
Samir Handanovic then pulled off a brilliant double save to deny Giacomo Bonaventura and Cristiano Biraghi soon after to protect Inter’s lead heading into the half-time break. Six minutes into the second half, Antonio Conte’s side doubled their advantage as Ivan Perisic scored with the simplest of tap-ins after being played in by Achraf Hakimi.
Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net soon after, but the goal did not stand due to offside in the buildup. The scoreline could have been much worse for Fiorentina if not for Dragowski, who made some fine saves to keep out Perisic and Roberto Gagliardini as the visitors eased to a 2-0 win.
The result meant Inter Milan are now top of the Serie A table – a point above arch-rivals AC Milan, who will be in action on Sunday. Here’s how we rated the performances of Conte’s men on the night against the Viola.
Samir Handanovic: 7/10
Made two brilliant stops in the space of ten seconds or so to stop Bonaventura and former teammate Biraghi from scoring with the scoreline being at 1-0. Not a lot to do thereafter, with Fiorentina hardly threatening. But, kept Inter’s noses ahead with that one big moment.
Milan Skriniar: 7/10
Solid and reliable, the Slovakian international hardly put a foot wrong against Fiorentina on Friday, although he was helped by the fact that the hosts did not pose a great deal of threat. Still, assured at the back, precise with his distribution, misplacing just five of his 87 passes.
Stefan de Vrij: 7/10
Organised the backline well throughout and ensured Dusan Vlahovic hardly got a sniff at the Inter goal. Swept up everything that came his way with relative comfort, effecting a game-high six clearances while being accurate with his passing out from the back.
Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10
After a disappointing outing in the cup tie against Juventus, Bastoni gave a good account of himself on Friday night. Like his defensive partners, dealt with whatever came his way without much fuss, completing two tackles and three interceptions. May not have been as eager to press up and get involved in the buildup as the other two defenders but was still precise when on the ball.
Achraf Hakimi: 7/10
Back into the starting XI after missing the cup game due to suspension, the Moroccan provided a constant and dangerous outlet down the right side for Inter Milan. Made a fine overlapping run before setting Perisic up for the second goal and could have scored one himself later on. Made two key passes on the night. Impressive.
Nicolo Barella: 8/10
Nicolo Barella with an absolute stunner! 😍
The young Inter midfielder keeps getting better and better 🙌 pic.twitter.com/xbp0I4BjlD
— Premier Sports 📺 (@PremierSportsTV) February 5, 2021
The star of the show for Inter Milan, Barella has truly been a wonderful addition for Conte’s team. The Italian international was denied a goal early in the game by Dragowski’s brilliance, but he found a way to beat him with a splendid effort not long after. Looked to get on the ball and did all the right things when in possession. Created a chance for Gagliardini in the second period. Top-class.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Took some time to settle down and get into his rhythm, but once he did, the Croatian was involved in a lot of positives for Inter Milan. Completed two key passes and kept things ticking along nicely, as he attempted and completed the most number of passes on the night. In addition, also effected one interception, two tackles and four interceptions.
Arturo Vidal: 5/10
Not good enough from the Chilean who had troubles keeping Bonaventura quiet in the first half. Seemed to be struggling with an injury problem and was hauled off at half-time.
Ivan Perisic: 7/10
Preferred over Ashley Young and Matteo Darmian at left wing-back, the Croatian had some issues in the first period as he found the going tough defensively. But, grew into the game with time and was at hand to double Inter’s lead early in the second half. Could have had a second with a low driven effort from just outside the box if not for Dragowski’s fine stop. Made one key pass.
2-0 Inter. Hakimi makes a great run behind the defense of Fiorentina and provides the assist for Perisic. pic.twitter.com/aGkm3QQGfX
— 𝐀𝐅𝐂 𝐀𝐉𝐀𝐗 💎 (@TheEuropeanLad) February 5, 2021
Romelu Lukaku: 6/10
Not his best game as Fiorentina tried to crowd him out each time he got on the ball. Made contributions at the back and did come close in the second half with a goal being chalked off for offside in the buildup and another effort drifting just wide. Set Lautaro Martinez up for a chance as well.
Alexis Sanchez: 7/10
A lively outing from the Chilean international who dropped in between the lines and tried to make things happen. Fiorentina found it difficult to deal with his clever movement throughout. Got the assist for Barella’s goal and played a match-high four key passes and completed a couple of dribbles as well. A step in the right direction.
Roberto Gagliardini: 6/10
On for Vidal at half-time. Made three interceptions and came close to scoring with a headed effort after being set up by Barella.
Lautaro Martinez: 6/10
On for Sanchez a little after the hour mark. Looked bright going forward. Could have played in Lukaku after a good run and had a shot deflected wide later on.
Matteo Darmian: N/A
On for the injured Perisic for the final ten minutes.
Andrea Pinamonti: N/A
Late substitute for Lukaku.