Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko rediscovered their scoring boots as Inter Milan returned to winning ways against Salernitana.
Inter Milan had Lautaro Martinez and Edin Dzeko to thank as they returned to the top of the Serie A standings with a thumping 5-0 win over bottom-placed Salernitana at the Giuseppe Meazza on Friday.
The defending champions went into the game on the back of a poor run of results that not only saw them win just one of their last five Serie A games, but also fail to find the back of the net in over 400 minutes. Little of that was on evidence on the night as the Nerazzurri dismantled Salernitana with ease.
It took them just 22 minutes to break the deadlock as Martinez finally brought his goal drought to an end. The Argentine doubled Inter Milan’s lead in the 40th minute, giving them a comfortable cushion going into the half-time break. Martinez completed his hat-trick before the hour mark, all but settling the match.
Perhaps encouraged by his strike partner’s performance, Dzeko also got in on the act with a quickfire double to add further gloss to the scoreline. The win takes Simone Inzaghi’s side back to the top of Serie A, where they hold a one-point lead over Napoli and AC Milan.
10 – Inter are the first team to score 10 goals against a single opponent in a Serie A season without conceding a single goal (10-0 aggregate v Salernitana) since Fiorentina against Torino in 1958/59 (6-0 and 4-0). Rage.#InterSalernitana
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) March 4, 2022
Salernitana might not have been the most intimidating of opponents, but Inter will be pleased to resume normal service. With Liverpool up next, a confidence booster was needed, and they got just that on Friday night.
Samir Handanovic: 6/10
The Inter Milan veteran had little to do in the game as the home side dominated the proceedings on the night. However, he was available when needed and kept things simple at the back. A calm and assured performance.
Milan Skriniar: 7/10
The Slovakian international’s performance was on point as he read the game well and ably supported Denzel Dumfries on the right-hand side. He largely neutralised the Salernitana attack and even brought the ball out from the back to initiate some of his own.
Stefan de Vrij: 6/10
The Dutchman was perhaps Inter’s poorest player on the night and looked nervy at the back. De Vrij’s form has dropped off a cliff, and his decision making of late has been suspect. He will need to do much better if he starts against Liverpool at Anfield next week.
Alessandro Bastoni: 8/10
The Italian star was at his usual dependable best and impressed at both ends of the pitch. He did not just snuff out the Salernitana attack on the left flank, but also got forward when possible. An extremely reliable player who is now adding consistency to his game.
Denzel Dumfries: 8/10
The Dutchman was unimpressive against AC Milan earlier in the week but turned on the style against Salernitana. The visitors could not cope with his attacking forays on the night. Dumfries got himself an assist for Dzeko’s second of the night and can consider himself unlucky not to have added his name to the scoresheet.
Nicolo Barella: 8/10
The UEFA Euro 2020 star returned to form in style with an all-action performance from midfield. He did everything asked of him in the middle of the park and contributed at both ends of the pitch. Easily Inter’s best player on the night, not taking their strikers into account.
Nicolò Barella Vs Salernitana
5 Key passes
4/4 Long Balls completed
7 ground duels won
9.1 Match rating
Best midfielder in the world pic.twitter.com/TDSAw1XJp0
— Jose 🧩 (@J_afc_x) March 4, 2022
Marcelo Brozovic: 8/10
It will come as a great relief to Inter that the Croatian international has rediscovered his mojo. He looked assured in the middle of the park and dictated the game’s tempo with consummate ease. The Nerazzurri play better when Brozovic is in form, and it showed. With key games to come, he could not have found his form at a better time.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 6/10
While still not at his best, the Turkish international’s display on the night was markedly improved over what we have seen of him recently. He linked up well with those around him and even showcased his prowess at setting up attacks and delivering set-pieces. He was taken off in the 62nd minute, perhaps with the Champions League trip to Anfield in mind.
Matteo Darmian: 7/10
An impressive performance from the Italian veteran who came in for the injured Ivan Perisic at left wing-back. He earned himself an early yellow card, but only improved from that point and can count himself unlucky not to have registered an assist on the night. Darmian eventually made way for Robin Gosens in the 62nd minute.
Lautaro Martinez: 10/10
The Argentine has been putting in the hard miles the last few weeks but has struggled to find the back of the net. Martinez, however, exploded on the night as he earned himself a well-taken hat-trick. He even found time to hit the bar and come close on a couple more occasions. Having ended his goal drought, the striker can look forward to the game against Liverpool with renewed confidence.
— OptaPaolo 🏆 (@OptaPaolo) March 4, 2022
Edin Dzeko: 9/10
The veteran striker looked up for the game and put in a performance that was better than anything he has shown of late. He earned himself a well-taken brace and can consider himself unlucky not to have joined Martinez in the hat-trick club.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
The veteran replaced Calhanoglu after the hour mark and did a good job anchoring the midfield.
Andrea Ranocchia: 6/10
He replaced the rather unimpressive de Vrij in the 62nd minute with the game all but settled. There was not much for the Italian to do, but he was available when needed to step up and intervene.
— Andrea Ranocchia (@23_Frog) March 4, 2022
Robin Gosens: 7/10
It was another impressive cameo for the former Atalanta man who looks to be getting back to his best. He grabbed himself an assist for Dzeko’s first goal and even went close himself a few times.
Roberto Gagliardini: 7/10
He came on with the game done and dusted, affording Brozovic a much-needed rest. He kept things simple and can consider himself unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty.
Joaquin Correa: 6/10
Correa replaced Dzeko in the second half but does not appear to be at his best just yet. He had a few chances but could not make the most of them. It was a much-needed appearance otherwise.