Nicolo Barella was the standout player as Inter Milan got back to winning ways against Cremonese at San Siro on Tuesday night.

Inter Milan returned to winning ways against newly promoted Cremonese following the weekend’s setback against SS Lazio. Simone Inzaghi rang in the changes ahead of the Milan Derby on the weekend, and the players rose to the occasion.

Joaquin Correa opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Nicolo Barella and Edin Dzeko linked up well to trouble Ionut Radu. This handed the Nerazzurri the advantage, and they continued to push forward in search of a second goal.

It paid dividends in the 38th minute as Barella’s beautifully hit volley nestled in the Cremonese net. This put Inter Milan two up at half-time, and left Cremonese with a mountain to climb. The visitors, to their credit, came out punching in the second half and gave Inter several scares.

Lautaro Martinez put the result beyond any doubt in the 76th minute after latching onto Barella’s through ball to make the score 3-0. David Okereke’s 90th-minute strike handed Cremonese a late consolation but did little to change the result.

The win helps Inter move up to the second spot in Serie A, one point ahead of rivals AC Milan. With both sides set to face off next weekend, the stage is set for a potentially feisty Derby Della Madonnina. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Inter Milan players fared on the night.

Samir Handanovic: 6/10

He had little to do in the first half as Inter bossed the game. Cremonese were a bigger threat after the break, and Handanovic was forced into some tricky situations. He was rooted to the spot in the 90th minute and was unable to save Okereke’s strike. His lack of movement in goal continues to be an issue.

Milan Skriniar: 6/10

The Serbian defender appeared uncomfortable on the night but largely got away thanks to the opposition. It was a decent performance by Skriniar and little more was needed on the night.

Stefan de Vrij: 6/10

The veteran Dutchman looked unsure regarding his decision-making and positioning on the night. Stefan de Vrij also gave away the ball cheaply on the night. He will need to improve drastically ahead of the Milan derby.

Federico Dimarco: 6/10

Dimarco replaced Alessandro Bastoni at the back and gave a decent account of himself. There was a nervy moment in the first half when he went down after a strong tackle from Cyriel Dessers. He shook it off and was solid on the left side of the back three. Emanuel Aiwu got the better of him in a couple of situations but thankfully for Inter, it did not lead to anything more.

Denzel Dumfries: 7/10

The right-back continued his fine form this season and was once again an outlet for the attack. Dumfries did not just offer width on the flank but also cut in when needed and drove into the box, adding to the attackers and putting pressure on the Cremonese goal. He also had a powerful strike at goal that was parried away by Radu in the 74th minute.

Nicolo Barella: 8/10

The Italian international turned on the style and reminded everyone why he is so highly rated. Barella was floating inches off the grass on the night and played a key role in all three goals. There is no better time than now for Barella to rediscover his mojo, and that augurs well for Simone Inzaghi in the coming weeks.

Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10

The Croat put in a much better showing this week and controlled the pace of the game. He was excellent both in attack and defence and was Inter’s chief orchestrator. The calmness he exudes in possession lays the keystone for the Nerazzurri’s ability to take control of the field. He came off in the 72nd minute with a knock.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 7/10

The Turkish international linked up well with the Inter attackers and garnered the assist for Barella’s strike. He too appears to be in good nick ahead of facing his former side AC Milan at the weekend. Calhanoglu’s ability to drive forward and make decisive passes caused Cremonese several problems on the night.

Matteo Darmian: 6/10

The veteran defender started on the left flank and was a reassuring presence in defence. Darmian protected Dimarco well and linked up well with the Italian on the night. Darmian might not be the best option for attacking the flank, but his ability to exude calmness while defending is a difference-maker.

Edin Dzeko: 6/10

The veteran was a constant menace to the Cremonese goal but lacked the clinical edge to make his opportunities twice. Dzeko made Radu work on a couple of occasions and gave a decent account of what he offers the club.

Joaquin Correa: 7/10

The former Lazio man made a lively start to the game and was at hand to divert Radu’s save from Dzeko into the Cremonese goal to open the scoring on the night. He also linked up well with the players around him as Inter looked to double their advantage in the first half. His eagerness to run and keep things simple came in handy on the night.

SUBSTITUTES

Lautaro Martinez: 7/10

An excellent cameo off the bench by the Argentine who replaced Correa in the 55th minute. Martinez’s movement and intelligence caused Cremonese several problems and he earned himself an excellent goal, putting the result beyond doubt.

Danilo D’Ambrosio: 6/10

It was the Italian’s first appearance of the season, and he replaced Dimarco in the second half. He could have done better in the build-up to Okereke’s consolation.

Kristjan Asllani: 6/10

He did well to don Brozovic’s role and was good with his decision-making and passing. Asllani was, however, too passive in the build-up to Cremonese’s consolation.

Raoul Bellanova: N/A

He replaced Dumfries in the 79th minute but did not really have much time to make an impact.

Robin Gosens: N/A

He came on for Darmian but did not quite make a difference.

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