Marcelo Brozovic’s last-gasp volley spared Inter’s blushes as they overcame energetic Torino 1-0 at San Siro on Saturday afternoon.

Inter Milan defeated Torino 1-0 at home in Serie A on Saturday afternoon, courtesy of a late goal from Marcelo Brozovic, and a superb goalkeeping display from Samir Handanovic.

As expected, Inter boss Simone Inzaghi has made a number of rotations to the starting XI from the team that took to the field against Bayern Munich in the Champions League in midweek, with Nicolo Barella, Samir Handanovic, Stefan de Vrij, Matteo Darmian, and Federico Dimarco all coming back into the starting lineup.

Following the setback in the Derby della Madonnina last weekend and the humiliation in the midweek, Inzaghi required a response from his players. However, that is easier said than done against a tricky in-form opponent like Torino.

It was an even contest for the opening 20 minutes or so. Lautaro Martinez blasted an early chance over the crossbar as the hosts attempted to get off to a fast start, but they struggled to generate anything else noteworthy for the rest of the first half. Torino, on the other hand, piled on sustained pressure and created several chances when Nikola Vlasic saw a low shot brilliantly parried by Handanovic.

Inter’s wastefulness persisted in the second half, with their forwards unable to create any significant chances to score, and the visitors looked the more likely team to score following the restart but Handanovic kept them at bay. Antonio Sanabria had received a red card for an elbow on Hakan Calhanoglu before the VAR intervened, and considered it worthy of a yellow card only.

Simone Inzaghi’s troops intensified their attacking intent after a few attacking substitutions, which eventually resulted in a few openings. Milan Skriniar and Lautaro Martinez headed just wide before Marcelo Brozovic flicked home a lovely clipped pass from Nicolo Barella to steal all three points right at the death.

It was far from a great performance from Inter, but a win was important for them after a tough week. Torino are a tough nut to break down these days, and it was always going to be a game of small margins, grit, and patience.

With this victory, Inter move up to third in the table, two points adrift of the top spot, while the Granata who had the opportunity to finish round 5 above Inter in the standings dropped to seventh. The Hard Tackle will now rate Inzaghi’s men after what was a hard-fought win at San Siro.

Samir Handanovic: 9/10

Samir Handanovic was arguably the best player for Inter on the day. The veteran goalkeeper returned to the line-up after being left out against Bayern and was rock solid in between the sticks. He was forced to bat the ball away on multiple occasions during Torino’s spells of pressure, notably denying Vlasic with a fantastic save from his right foot.

In total, he made seven stops, out of which five were from inside the box. Made another good stop late on to keep Inter in the game, and deserved a clean sheet for his imperious display. Had it not been for the Slovenian in goal for Inter, the hosts would have been flooded with goals.

Milan Skriniar: 7/10

Milan Skriniar had occasional troubles keeping with Vlasic’s searing runs out wide, and got overwhelmed at times, thanks to the attacking influence of Nemanja Radonjic and Mergim Vojvoda.

But he was solid overall, making 2 crucial blocks, and denying any sort of room in possession for the Torino’s attackers while also playing a handy role in the build-up, completing 93% of his passes. Could have put Inter in front with a header midway through the second half, but Torino keeper Milinkovic-Savic stood firm to keep it out.

Stefan de Vrij: 7/10

Stefan de Vrij was one of the standout performers for Inter Milan and put on a good defensive showing thanks to his game-reading abilities as he won a lot of clever fouls. He was sluggish at times, with his lack of pace apparent, and opponents dribbling past him with ease. Still, he completed 4 clearances, 3 interceptions, and was aerially supreme, winning 6 of his contest 7 aerial duels

Federico Di Marco: 6/10

Started ahead of Alessandro Bastoni, but the four-time Italian international found it hard to cope with the pace and movement of the Torino attackers. He contributed next to nothing both in defensive actions or in build-up play, losing the possession a whopping 14 times. Subbed off midway through the second half.

Denzel Dumfries: 4/10

Dumfries dropped a stinker of a game, as the right wing-back lost more than half of his contested duels and was ineffective in his display. He did not provide anything from the attacking perspective, playing just 14 passes at a 57% success rate. He did not even put a single cross into the box, while he offered Vojvoda acres of space to create menace down his side.

Nicolo Barella: 7/10

Barella had a slow start to the game, but he settled into the proceedings with time. His energy and all-action style was vital in helping Inter drive up the pitch, while he also used the ball efficiently, as reflected by his four key passes.

Marcelo Brozovic: 8/10

Marcelo Brozovic had trouble asserting control of the game in the first half but took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half. The Croat was in command and provided stability in the middle of the park, allowing Inter to dominate and create more chances. Tried his luck from distance but it was way off target before winning it for the hosts late on when he managed to nudge the ball past Vanja Milinkovic-Savic from inside the box after a through pass from Barella.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 7/10

Usually Inter’s creator-in-chief, Calhanoglu was not the most creative player in the middle of the park. The Turkish international was accurate with his passes, but this performance was about his defensive work rate as he well and truly ran his socks off, completing four tackles, while winning almost all of his contested duels (9/10).

Matteo Darmian: 7/10

The former Manchester United defender offered the thrust on the counter whenever it was required while offering adequate defensive support for Di Marco out wide to keep counterpart Valentino Lazaro quiet throughout the game. He created a couple of good chances with his crosses, while also making a few unfruitful darting runs at the back post.

Lautaro Martinez: 7.5/10

Much like his strike-partner, Martinez, too, had an uneventful first period wherein he was well-marshalled by the visitors’ backline. The second period, though, seemed to have flicked a switch as he became unplayable.

He continued to pose a serious threat with his combination play while Inter tried to hit the visitors on the counter-attack. He won most of his attempted dribbles (3/4), ground duels (8/12), and completed 2 key passes. The Argentine blasted five efforts, all of which went wide, with his header skimming the woodwork.

Edin Dzeko: 6/10

Dzeko had a poor game in front of goal as he could not provide any focal point to Inter’s attack, and did not contest or win a single aerial duel during his time on the pitch. He also missed a glorious chance as his attempted shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

SUBSTITUTIONS

Joaquin Correa: 5/10

Hardly touched the ball after coming on.

Alessandro Bastoni: 6/10

Bastoni was substituted after 68 minutes and played some progressive balls from the back.

Raoul Bellanova: 6.5/10

Bellanova offered more in his cameo than Dumfries throughout the game. He added an injection of energy with his intent to take on defenders and was reasonably successful. He needs more minutes to showcase the full range of his attributes.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: N/A

A late replacement for Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan was calm, collected, and precise with the ball.

Robin Gosens: N/A

A late replacement for Darmian. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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