Inter Milan turned up the style against Cagliari to go top of the Serie A standings with a 4-0 win on Sunday.

Inter Milan took full advantage of AC Milan and SSC Napoli’s slip-ups to go top of the Serie A table. The Nerazzurri made no mistake against Cagliari and romped home to a 4-0 win on the night.

It was a dominant performance by the defending champions who were on top from start to finish. Cagliari did their best, but the gulf in quality was too much for them to bridge. Simone Inzaghi’s side appears to be coming into top form at just the right time of the season.

Lautaro Martinez gave the home side the lead just before the half-hour mark. It proved to be the only goal of a half where Inter should really have scored more. They made up for it by turning up the style in the final 45 minutes.

The forgotten Alexis Sanchez, who received a rare start on the night, doubled Inter’s lead in the 50th minute. Hakan Calhanoglu continued his rich vein of form by adding a third in the 66th minute before Martinez grabbed his second of the night three minutes later. The scoreline, if anything, flattered the visitors.

The returning Walter Mazzarri had his side sit deep and soak up the pressure all night. It worked quite well as Inter initially failed to find a way through. However, there was no way back for Cagliari once Inter opened the scoring through Martinez’s near-post finish.

Inter might lost several assets in the summer, but they remain a formidable force to be reckoned with domestically. Both AC Milan and Napoli have dropped crucial points in recent weeks and the Nerazzurri are not one to refuse a gift. With a busy schedule coming up, Inter are getting into their groove at just the right time.

Inzaghi will hope that his side can carry over the momentum into the new year. The Hard Tackle now takes a look at how the Inter players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic: 5/10

The veteran goalkeeper was called into action just once all night. Cagliari often sat deep and played around their own box rather than threaten their opponents. There was little for the 37-year-old to do all night and he should have got himself a book to avoid being bored.

Milan Skriniar: 6/10

Skriniar literally had nothing to do. A rock at the back for Inter, the Slovak had a comfortable outing against a Cagliari side who had little intent to attack. However, he was alert when called upon and helped bring the ball out of defence. He might as well have not turned up.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

The Dutchman made his much-awaited return from injury and barely put a foot wrong. He was, of course, aided by a rather uninterested opposition attack who were content to just make up the numbers. Stefan de Vrij could not have asked for an easier run out to get back to match fitness.

Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10

Another player who had a casual day at work. Bastoni was comfortable all night and even looked bored at times. It probably caused him to turn up the style early on in the second half.

Denzel Dumfries: 7/10

The Dutchman put in one of his best performances of the season and caused the Cagliari backline plenty of problems. He made excellent use of his pace and guile to stretch the opposition defence at will and reminded fans for the first time that he could very well prove to be an excellent replacement to Achraf Hakimi.

Nicolo Barella: 8/10

The Italian international grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, leaving Cagliari with no answers. He was a driving force in midfield all night and provided the assists for Sanchez and Martinez’s goals in the second half. While he might not have scored himself, the performance on the night will certainly have left fans buzzing.

Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10

The Croat was as solid as ever and kept the ball ticking. He was given the liberty of controlling the midfield by his Cagliari counterparts, who were more content to play alongside the defenders. Brozovic took full advantage of it to keep the ball ticking and kickstart Inter’s forward forays.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 9/10

The Turkish international continued his fine form by grabbing a goal and an assist on the night. It was his set-piece delivery that helped Inter break the deadlock in the first half. He followed it up with a sensational strike to score the third in the 66th minute. His consistency continues to make a difference in the creative department.

Ivan Perisic: 6/10

Perisic surprisingly had an off day and was among Inter’s least impressive players on the night. However, the Croat was afforded the freedom to do so as his teammates stepped up and made a difference.

Lautaro Martinez: 9/10

The Argentine should have had a hat-trick to his name but went on to miss a penalty. But then, given Inter’s dominance on the night, the miss will go down as an afterthought.  Martinez gave the home side the lead in the first half before rounding off the proceedings in the second half. Martinez also put in his usual hard work off the ball and was a difficult man to pick up for the Cagliari defence.

Alexis Sanchez: 7/10

The Chilean took full advantage of a rare start to showcase exactly what he can do. He was livelier than expected and made a number of good forays upfield. He also took his goal with some style. Inzaghi will be pleased to have another in-form striker to call upon during the busy part of the season.

SUBSTITUTES

Arturo Vidal: 5/10

The veteran replaced Brozovic in the second half, giving the Croat a much-needed breather. He had little to do and had the time and freedom in midfield to play at his pace.

Federico Dimarco: 5/10

Dimarco replaced the excellent Dumfries on the night but failed to match the Dutchman’s output. However, Cagliari caused him no trouble.

Martin Satriano: 5/10

A good run out for the striker, who replaced Martinez in the 72nd minute. Little to write about.

Stefano Sensi: 6/10

The Italian international came on for Calhanoglu in the 76th minute. He had little to do but helped the home side see out the game.

Mattia Zanotti: N/A

Zanotti replaced Perisic in the 82nd minute but had little time to make an impact.

Leave A Comment...

*