Edin Dzeko is the man of the moment as the Bosnian secured Inter Milan a massive win in stoppage time against Venezia.

Defending champions Inter Milan had Edin Dzeko to thank as they saw off a spirited Venezia side at the San Siro earlier today. The win sees the Nerazzurri move five points clear at the top of the Serie A table at least for the next 24 hours.

Having dropped two points against Atalanta last week, the onus was on Simone Inzaghi’s men to get back to winning ways. Venezia arrived at the San Siro in 17th place in Serie A while also missing several players and their manager thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak. I Lagunari did a commendable job of putting up a good fight and even took the lead on the night.

Thomas Henry put the visitors ahead with a well-taken strike in the 19th minute. Thanks to Nicolo Barella, a shell shocked Inter side responded and drew level in the 40th minute. The Nerazzurri saw VAR dismiss calls for a penalty and went into the break tied with Venezia.

The home side were admittedly slow in their buildup, and it appeared to be something Inzaghi had addressed at the break. Inter came out in the second half showing more intent and took the game to their less illustrious opponents.

The defending champions continued to knock at the door but looked likely to settle for a point. Dzeko, however, had other ideas and showed great skill to nod in Denzel Dumfries’s cross in the second minute of stoppage time. The goal prompted wild celebrations and these three points could prove to be a pivotal come the end of the season.

The Hard Tackle looks at how the Inter Milan players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic (5/10)

The veteran returned to the starting lineup but failed to reproduce his heroics from last weekend against Atalanta. He did not have much to do as Inter dominated proceedings, but should have used his physical presence better to prevent Venezia’s opener.

Milan Skriniar (6/10)

The 26-year-old also returned to the starting lineup and looked rusty in the leadup to Venezia’s opener. He should have done better to mark Henry, who scored in the 19th minute. He spent most of the game higher up the field and made space for Nicolo Barella to run into.

Stefan De Vrij (6/10)

It was a mixed night for the Dutchman, who spent most of his time higher up the field. However, he struggled to contain Henry, who troubled him all night, especially in the air.

Alessandro Bastoni (5/10)

He was solid at the back but lacked impetus going forward. Venezia defended deep and cut off all avenues for the Italian star to run forward. He received a yellow card for an aerial duel with Henry and was taken off at halftime after picking up a knock.

Matteo Darmian (5/10)

The fullback started at right wing-back and looked jaded given his recent exertions. He showcased his experience and was aware of his defensive responsibilities, going about it with minimal fuss. He looked rusty going forward but did a fine job of assisting Barella’s equalizer.

Nicolo Barella (7/10)

The Euro 2020 hero returned to the starting lineup and put in a pivotal performance for Inter on the night. His movement and ability on the ball caused Venezia problems and he made several good crosses into the box. He did well to score from Darmian’s cross in the first half to draw the home side level.

Marcelo Brozovic (6/10)

The Croatian has been Inter’s best midfielder this season, but little of it was on display at San Siro on the night. His touch was lacking, and he struggled to seize control of the midfield. Thankfully for Inter, he did not pick up a yellow card, leaving him available to feature in the Milan derby in February.

Hakan Calhanoglu (6/10)

The Turkish international is a classy taker of set pieces and did his best to contribute to the buildup play. However, he failed to link up well with Perisic and had a rather subdued outing on the night. The midfielder has performed better recently and can be excused an average night at the office.

Ivan Perisic (6/10)

He locked up the left-wing defensively but lacked his penetrating runs forward. Perisic, however, was not afraid to put in the hard work and was dynamic enough to run up and down the pitch all night. It was not his best performance but was sufficient on the night.

Edin Dzeko (7/10)

The Bosnian linked up well with Barella in the leadup to the equalizer. He looked to be having a poor day at the office and missed several opportunities to find the back of the net. The 35-year-old, however, left the best for the end as he headed in Dumfries’s cross deep into storage time to secure all three points for his side.

Lautaro Martinez (5/10)

It was an off night for the Argentine, who is usually Inter’s best man in attack. His highlight of the night was an overhead kick in the first half that was off target. Martinez otherwise lacked his usual zeal and energy and found little joy against Venezia’s low block.

Substitutes

Federico Dimarco (6/10)

He replaced Bastoni at halftime as Inter looked for more penetration down the left. Dimarco, unfortunately, was unable to provide it.

Arturo Vidal (6/10)

The Chilean came on for Barella in the 70th minute and gave a good account of himself. He should have scored but lacked the cutting edge to put his side ahead on the night.

Alexis Sanchez (6/10)

The veteran continues to see his stock rise at the San Siro with yet another impressive cameo off the bench. He appears to have rediscovered his little bag of tricks and could prove to be a pivotal player for the Nerazzurri in the coming months.

Denzel Dumfries (6/10)

The Dutchman was an improvement over Darmian on the attacking front. He is growing into his role at the San Siro and could prove to be a mainstay in the side for years to come. He also provided the cross for Dzeko’s winner.

Matias Vecino (NA)

It was a brief cameo by the Uruguayan and he was miles better than his outing against Empoli midweek. He attacked a tiring Venezia side and caused them numerous problems.

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