Inter Milan extended their winning run to seven games in the Serie A to maintain their six-point lead atop the table, beating Atalanta 1-0 at San Siro.
Inter Milan struggled to play out of the back in the opening exchanges, as Atalanta pressed high and with great intensity. Both teams canceled each other out in a midfield battle as neither created a clear goalscoring opportunity in the opening 30 minutes.
The first chance of the game fell to Atalanta, as they almost scored the opening goal from a corner but Cristian Zapata’s strong header was brilliantly saved by Samir Handanovic. Atalanta looked more and more dangerous as the first half wore on and continued to look more threatening after the restart, as they almost tried to bulldoze past Inter’s defence at times.
But, it was the home team that took the lead from a corner as Milan Skriniar placed his shot into the bottom left corner to open the tally for the Nerazzurri. Atalanta came close to equalising in the 67th minute but Zapata’s shot was just wide off the post.
Inter struggled to get hold of possession and relied mostly on counter-attacks, with the goalscoring opportunities drying up after the goal due to Atalanta’s continued pressure on the Nerazzurri’s defence. Atalanta, though, struggled to create anything worthwhile to trouble Handanovic, as Inter maintained a solid defensive shape.
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) March 8, 2021
It was a crucial victory for Inter Milan in terms of the title race, as they look more and more confident of winning the Scudetto this year. Let us take a look at how Antonio Conte’s men fared against Atalanta on Monday.
Samir Handanovic: 6.5/10
Poor distribution in the first 45 minutes as he put his teammates in a really difficult position with his short passes. However, he made a brilliant save to deny Zapata, late in the first half. Made a crucial block from Luis Muriel’s shot towards the end of the game. Did not have much do in the second half otherwise.
Milan Skriniar: 8.5/10
🔎 | FOCUS
Milan Škriniar vs Atalanta:
⏱️ 90' played
👌 65 touches
⚽️ 1 goal
🥅 2 shots/1 on target
🧲 5 interceptions
🚀 5 clearances
❌ 3 tackles
⚔️ 6/10 duels won
🚷 0 times dribbled past
📈 8.3 SofaScore rating
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) March 8, 2021
Matched Zapata for pace and rarely let the Colombian get the better of him in the first half. Scored a wonderful goal in the second half to open the scoring with a well-placed shot into the bottom left corner. Looked really solid in defence in the latter half as Atalanta applied the pressure and put in some really strong tackles to stop Inter’s attacks from developing. Top-notch performance from the Slovak.
Stefan de Vrij: 7.5/10
Marshalled his defence well and played some wonderful over the top passes from central defence. Showed a lot of experience in dealing with the danger Atalanta posed with the wave of attacks in the second half.
Alessandro Bastoni: 7.5/10
Mature performance from the young centre-back, as he defended well and made some crucial tackles that stopped Atalanta from getting into dangerous positions in his box.
Alessandro Bastoni vs Atalanta
93% pass accuracy
3 tackles won
Bastoni, Romero, Škriniar, Djimsiti, de Vrij & Tolói – they have all been excellent today. Defensive recital. pic.twitter.com/aDqiRfRlon
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) March 8, 2021
Achraf Hakimi: 6/10
Pegged back in his own half in the early exchanges as Atalanta dominated. Could not make his trademark runs as often as possible. Failed to impose himself in the second half either as he was easily subdued by Atalanta’s defence.
Nicolo Barella: 6.5/10
Struggled in possession due to Atalanta’s high press early on and failed to stamp his authority in midfield in the opening half. Showed improvement post the break as he played more forward passes and found Lukaku more often in the opposition half.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Showed good composure in tight spaces and used his skill well to break Atalanta’s high press in opening half. Continued in the same vein in the second half as he dictated Inter’s play and showed good reading of the game to win possession in his half. Replaced by Gagliardini in the 76th minute.
Arturo Vidal: 5/10
Looked off pace as he had a tough time getting his passing going, Malinovskyi got past the Chilean with ease in the first 45 minutes. Subbed off in the 51st minute for Eriksen. Disappointing performance from the former Bayern Munich midfielder.
Ivan Perisic: 6/10
A rare quiet outing for the Croat in the opening half as he failed to get out of his own half in the opening 20 minutes; defended really well as he negated the threat of Maehle in his half.
Lautaro Martinez: 6.5/10
Was let down by his touch and struggled to influence the attack in his usual way in the opening half. However, he looked more dangerous after the restart as he made some dangerous runs from his own half that caused Atalanta a lot of trouble, but failed to provide a good final pass.
Romelu Lukaku: 5.5/10
Used his strength really well against Romero, but struggled to get the better of the defender in the first 45 minutes. Showed similar form in the second half as well, as Romero continued to dominate the Belgian and did not allow him any time and space on the ball. A rare poor performance from Inter’s leading goalscorer.
Christian Eriksen: 6.5/10
Came on for the ineffective Vidal in the 51st minute and instantly impacted the game, as it was his corner that lead to the opening goal for his team.
Alexis Sanchez: 5.5/10
Replaced Lautaro Martinez in the 76th minute; could not influence the game like he did last week as Inter Milan were on the back foot after he came on.
Roberto Gagliardini: 5/10
Subbed in place of Brozovic in the 76th minute; showed sloppiness in possession and struggled to win possession back for his team.
Matteo Darmian: N/A
Came on for Perisic in the 84th minute; barely had any action to receive a rating.
Danilo D’Ambrosio: N/A
Replaced Hakimi in the 84th minute; did not play enough to warrant a rating