Inter Milan kept pace with trendsetters Napoli and AC Milan at the top of the Serie A table thanks to a 2-0 win over Spezia on Wednesday.

Defending champions Inter Milan overcame a difficult start to the game to ensure they came away with a 2-0 win in the clash against Spezia on Wednesday. Goals from Roberto Gagliardini and Lautaro Martinez ensured the Nerazzurri won their third Serie A game on the trot. The win has helped them keep pace with Napoli and AC Milan in the title race.

It was far from a vintage performance from Simone Inzaghi’s side. They struggled to get much joy in the initial stages of the game, and it looked likely to be another frustrating night was in the offing. It appeared to need something special to break the deadlock.

That was exactly what happened as Gagliardini was at hand to finish off a sweeping team move in the 36th minute. With their tails up, Inter seized the initiative and looked much more assured in possession. A Lautaro Martinez penalty in the second half all but saw the result set in stone.

The Nerazzurri were professional enough to see out the game without making life difficult for themselves. The win briefly took them above AC Milan into the second spot. While the Rossoneri eventually regained their spot by winning their game in hand, Inter Milan being in the mix should make it a fierce three-horse title race.

Inter have now gone ten games without a loss and were able to ring in the changes ahead of the clash against AS Roma this weekend. For now, the Nerazzurri train rolls on, and The Hard Tackle now takes a look at how the players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic: 7/10

The veteran goalkeeper had little to do but came up trumps when called upon. The 37-year-old displayed his still sharp reflexes with a point-blank save to deny the opposition what looked like an easy goal. It helped his side retain their composure and see out the game with minimal fuss. Handanovic has had a few games to forget in recent weeks. Thankfully for Inter, this was not one of them.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 6/10

A decent outing, but there is nothing to write home about. D’Ambrosio can do much better, and the outing on the night did not do him justice. He looked rusty on the night, especially going forward. Several crosses went begging as he failed to get into the groove.

Milan Skriniar: 6/10

The most recognizable name in Inter’s much-changed backline, Skriniar kept things simple and manageable. He organised the defence well and dealt with whatever was thrown at him professionally. The Slovakian defender deserves credit for his uncompromising approach to what was a rather straightforward win.

Federico Dimarco: 7/10

It was possibly Dimarco’s best performance in an Inter jersey since returning to the club in 2018. He was effective at both ends of the pitch and gave a real case for garnering regular playtime. With games set to come thick and fast, Dimarco’s good run of form will give Inzaghi more options.

Denzel Dumfries: 6/10

The Dutchman put in an excellent performance given his recent struggles. Dumfries has often appeared inconsistent at Inter, but this was certainly one of his more eye-catching performances. He looked especially inventive while running into space.

Roberto Gagliardini: 7/10

Sensational on the night, the 27-year-old opened the scoring for the home team in the 36th minute. The real challenge for the midfielder is to reproduce the same level of performance while playing stronger opposition.

Marcelo Brozovic: 8/10

The Croatian international has been Inter’s most consistent player this season, and he showed why on the night. Brozovic won the midfield battle hands down and dominated the proceedings in the middle of the park with minimal fuss. Given his level of performance, it would be a travesty for the Nerazzurri to potentially let him leave at the end of the season for free.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 8/10

The Turkish ace deserves massive credit for putting in one excellent performance after another; Calhanoglu is rediscovering his best ahead of a critical run of games for his side. Easily Inter’s best player on the night.

Ivan Perisic: 7/10

Another Croat who is a key player for Inter. Perisic may not have gotten himself on the score sheet, but he did everything else needed in attack and defence.

Lautaro Martinez: 7/10

The Argentine endured a difficult few minutes at the beginning of the match. He made quite a few unforced errors and looked to be enduring an off day. To his credit, Martinez stepped up and proved instrumental in breaking down the Spezia defence. He laid off the assist for Gagliardini before scoring from the spot in the 56th minute. Another key player who is coming into form at the right time for Inter.

Joaquin Correa: 5/10

The summer acquisition looks out of form and out of touch. He appears to occupy a parallel dimension and is yet to gel well with his teammates. Correa will need to do much better if he is to stake a regular claim as a starter.

SUBSTITUTES

Stefano Sensi: 6/10

The Italian international replaced the impressive Calhanoglu in the 68th minute. He kept things simple and did not try anything adventurous. Sensi should be praised for his role in helping Inter see out the game.

Edin Dzeko: 6/10

A typically industrious performance by the striker who replaced Lautaro Martinez in the 73rd minute. Dzeko failed to get onto the score sheet but did not back down from doing his bit in attack and defence.

Alexis Sanchez: 6/10

The Chilean veteran replaced the ineffective Correa in the 73rd minute. While he did not get the ball rolling, he fared better than the player he replaced.

Arturo Vidal: N/A

He replaced Roberto Gagliardini as Inter saw out the game.

Matias Vecino: N/A

 Vecino replaced Marcelo Brozovic in the 87th minute but had little to do.

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