Lautaro Martinez scored his sixth goal of the season as Inter Milan secured a vital 3-2 win over Napoli on Sunday.
Inter Milan closed the gap at the top of the Serie A table to just four points after securing a 3-2 victory over Napoli on Sunday. It was a vital win for the Nerazzurri as they took advantage of AC Milan’s defeat to Fiorentina to further bridge the gap between them and the table toppers.
It was a frantic start to the game for both sides, with Inter, in particular, creating numerous scoring opportunities in the final third. The high tempo of the game, though, meant that the margin of error was almost non-existent and in the end, Inter got caught out as a swift counter-attack from Napoli saw them find the breakthrough in the 17th minute through Piotr Zielinski.
Napoli’s lead did not last long as Kalidou Koulibaly soon conceded a penalty to allow Hakan Calhanoglu to level the scoring. Inter then capitalised on their momentum to maintain pressure on the opposition defence, even taking the lead late in the first half, thanks to Ivan Perisic’s smart header.
In the second half, Inter were once again the better side, but to Napoli’s credit, they did push forward in search of the equaliser. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off, as Simone Inzaghi’s men eventually extended their lead through Lautaro Martinez around the hour mark. A dream goal from Dries Mertens did offer hope for the Partenopei, but it wasn’t enough to stage a memorable comeback.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Inter players in their crucial win over Napoli this weekend.
Samir Handanovic: 6/10
Samir Handanovic should have done a much better job of keeping out Zielinski’s effort from outside the box. He couldn’t have done anything for the second goal, though, as Mertens’ precise strike expertly found the corner of the net.
Milan Skriniar: 7.5/10
Milan Skriniar stepped up well in the absence of Stefan de Vrij, taking over the mantle of being the defensive leader. His experience and ability to read the game was indeed crucial in preventing the likes of Victor Osimhen from making an impact on the proceedings.
Andrea Ranocchia: 7/10
Andrea Ranocchia was the man tasked with the responsibility of replacing de Vrij at the heart of the Inter backline. The experienced centre-back didn’t disappoint, notably making some important tackles and clearance while offering optimum solidity in duels, especially against Osimhen.
ranocchia emptying his pocket after the match pic.twitter.com/vPIMCh8dHz
— Saniok (@saniokelchapo) November 21, 2021
Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10
Alessandro Bastoni showed signs of his true self with a stable defensive effort on the left-hand side of the three-man Inter Milan backline. The youngster’s technical prowess and ability to rotate the ball was useful in the build-up from the back, while his pace also became quite useful in dealing with the threat of Hirving Lozano.
Matteo Darmian: 7/10
Starting ahead of new signing Denzel Dumfries at right-back, Matteo Darmian offered excellent support going forward. He did lack decision-making at times, but the former Manchester United star managed to establish himself as a passing option whenever it was required.
Nicolo Barella: 6/10
Nicolo Barella had a frustrating game in the middle of the park for Inter. The Italian notably conceded the turnover that led to Napoli’s first goal. However, he did somewhat make up for his with a crucial block that led to the counter-attack for Inter’s third goal on the night. As for his performance itself, Barella had difficulties imposing his presence in the final third.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Marcelo Brozovic had a good game at the base of Inter’s 3-5-2. He did well to distribute possession and dictate the tempo of the game with his crisp passing and positioning sense. The Croatian also produced useful long-balls behind the Napoli backline, leading to a few chances.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 7.5/10
Hakan Calhanoglu was one of Inter’s star performers, as he created numerous goalscoring opportunities for his team. The former Bayer Leverkusen starlet also converted the penalty to equalise in the first half, while the Turkish international registered the assist for Perisic’s goal just before half-time. Calhanoglu’s return to form could be excellent news for the Nerazzurri.
10 – Since his first Serie A season (2017/18) #Calhanoglu is the midfielder who played the highest number of matches in the Italian top-flight scoring at least one goal and providing at least one assist (10 with today's one). Personality.#SerieA #InterNapoli pic.twitter.com/v6O92YDzrp
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) November 21, 2021
Ivan Perisic: 7.5/10
Ivan Perisic was another Inter Milan attacker that impressed on the night. His link-up play was impeccable as ever while the former Bayern Munich star added that thrust with his marauding runs forward.
Joaquin Correa: 7/10
Joaquin Correa wasn’t involved as much as he would have hoped for after starting the game ahead of Edin Dzeko. However, the Argentine showcased his pace and decision-making by setting up Martinez’s second-half goal, although this performance may not be enough to hand him a start in the next game.
Lautaro Martinez: 7.5/10
Lautaro Martinez led the line for Inter with aplomb. Even though the Argentine wasn’t fully imposing with his pace and movements in the final third, he showed good determination. His efforts paid off as he was given an excellent scoring opportunity in the second half. The forward didn’t disappoint with the finish either.
LAUTARO TI AMO pic.twitter.com/cnFAJImbiS
— Lady Eriksen and Movimento17 non fallita 🐺 (@gxallavichx) November 21, 2021
Edin Dzeko: 6/10
Edin Dzeko made his return to the pitch around the hour-mark, replacing Correa. Unfortunately, the striker looked out of touch, notably conceding the turnover that led to Napoli’s second goal.
Arturo Vidal: 6/10
Arturo Vidal offered more physical presence and aggression after coming on for Calhanoglu around the hour mark.
Roberto Gagliardini: N/A
A late replacement for Martinez. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Federico Dimarco: N/A
A late replacement for Barella. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Martin Satriano: N/A
A late replacement for Perisic. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.