Defending champions Inter Milan romped home to a dominant win over bottom-placed Salernitana to strengthen their grip on the Serie A summit.

Defending champions Inter Milan dominated from start to finish in what was, in the end, a 5-0 romp against bottom-placed Salernitana. Having made their way to the top of the Italian top-flight, Simone Inzaghi’s side appeared intent to hold onto their position.

The performance was as good as any the Nerazzurri have put up this season, and there were several positives to take away on the night. Ivan Perisic put the visitors ahead in the 11th minute before Denzel Dumfries doubled the advantage in the 33rd minute. Inter went in with a 2-0 lead at half-time and never looked like surrendering it.

The home side should have pulled up their socks and responded in the second half. However, Inter came out flying, full of intent and purpose. Alexis Sanchez scored the third in the 52nd minute before Lautaro Martinez came off the bench to make it 4-0 in the 77th minute.

Another substitute, Roberto Gagliardini, got himself on the scoresheet in the 87th minute. All in all, it was a night to savour for Simone Inzaghi & co., who got the job done with minimal fuss. The scoreline will also help enhance the Nerazzurri’s goal difference heading into the second half of the season.

Inter also took their goal tally in Serie A for 2021 to 103 goals, the first time they have scored in triple digits in a calendar year in their history. Having done their part, the onus is on AC Milan, Atalanta and Napoli to do theirs and keep pace with Inter. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Nerazzurri players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic: 7/10

The veteran goalkeeper had nothing much to do. He appeared intent on preserving his clean sheet and rose to the challenge when called into action. This included a sensational save from former Inter star Joel Obi.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 6/10

The Italian international did not particularly stand out but did his job right. The 33-year-old was helped by a Salernitana attack that lacked bite. In fact, it was 38-year-old French veteran Franck Ribery who offered the home side’s biggest offensive threat on the night.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

The Dutch international only recently returned from injury and the lack of match fitness showed. He was thankful to be not overtly troubled on the night and was afforded time on the ball. Stefan de Vrij continued to improve and led the defence well on the night. The coming run of games should ensure he is up to speed by the turn of the new year.

Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10

The Italian continues to impress and put in yet another uncompromising display where he took no prisoners. Salernitana obliged him by not attacking down his flank much. Bastoni was, however, not content and repaid them by offering more going forward.

Denzel Dumfries: 7/10

The Dutchman has had his ups and downs at San Siro, and this was one of the former. He scored his first goal for the club in the 33rd minute to double the visitors’ lead. He was not just solid in defence but also carried the ball forward with confidence and always looked to impact the other end. With Matteo Damian out injured, this is Dumfries’s time to shine.

Nicolo Barella: 4/10

The Italian maestro had an uncharacteristically poor game on the night. He picked up an early booking and towed the line for the rest of his time on the field. Barella failed to produce any moments of magic and was often a source of frustration for Inter. A largely forgettable outing.

Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10

The Croat remains a pillar of consistency around whom Inter build their dominance on the field. He was again unflappable in the middle of the park and left Salernitana with no answers. The home side tried to harry him from the word go and understood his role in the grand scheme of things. However, they could do little, and as usual, Brozovic reigned supreme.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 7/10

The summer signing was in excellent form going into the game and showed no sign of stopping anytime soon. Calhanoglu might not have gotten himself on the scoresheet but managed to add two more assists to his tally this season.

Ivan Perisic: 7/10

Perisic was unbeatable at both ends of the pitch and opened the scoring with a well-taken finish in the 11th minute. He continues to impress and is growing into an unstoppable force on the left flank for the Nerazzurri.

Edin Dzeko: 6/10

The towering striker returned to the starting lineup but looked rusty, to begin with. Dzeko failed to get himself on the scoresheet but provided an excellent assist for Denzel Dumfries to open his account for Inter.

Alexis Sanchez: 7/10

It is two goals in two games for the Chilean who is increasingly growing in stature at Inter Milan. Sanchez started slowly but grew into the game, scoring with his last touch before being substituted.

SUBSTITUTES

Arturo Vidal: 6/10

The Chilean midfielder replaced a disappointing Nicolo Barella. Vidal took some time to get used to the game’s pace, but his experience shone through, and he proved to be an upgrade over the player he replaced.

Federico Dimarco: 5/10

The 24-year-old had an off day and had little to cheer for. Thankfully, the game was already sewn up, and his poor display on the night will be quickly forgotten.

Lautaro Martinez: 7/10

Inter’s attacking talisman, was afforded a well-deserved rest on the night. Martinez looked lively off the bench and even got himself on the scoresheet. The Argentine once again showed his importance to the team.

Roberto Gagliardini: 7/10

The Italian came off the bench to not just assist but also score. He also showed excellent movement and proved to be a thorn in Salernitana’s side. Inzaghi has been given a proper audition to include the player in the starting XI against Torino.

Aleksander Kolarov: N/A

Brought on for the last few minutes, Kolarov kept things simple and earned himself a run out as well.

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