Inter Milan leapfrogged Juventus back into the Serie A top four as they came from behind to beat Atalanta 3-2 at the Gewiss Stadium.
In a low-quality affair that failed to live up to the billing, Edin Dzeko was the two-goal hero, as his brace cancelled out Ademola Lookman’s opening penalty to give Simone Inzaghi three important points as we break for the World Cup.
Lautaro Martinez – via Jose Luis Palomino – rubbed salt in home wounds just minutes later as Inter upped the tempo – and the quality – after the break.
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Palomino made amends as he powered home from a Teun Koopmeiners’ delivery to throw Inter’s position into question, but Inzaghi’s side managed the latter stages well to see out the win.
The first 45 minutes proved a tough watch as both sides struggled to maintain possession, with sloppy passes spoiling what could have been promising passages of play.
Andre Onana pulled off two excellent saves within two minutes of each other, as he denied Teun Koopmeiners low at his near post on the quarter hour, and then he beat away Jose Luis Palomino’s bullet header from the resulting corner.
Duvan Zapata was chopped down by Stefan de Vrij on 23 minutes as the referee pointed to the spot, and Ademola Lookman struck into the top corner to give the hosts a lead that neither side really deserved up to that point.
Edin Dzeko hauled the visitors level as he ghosted into the six-yard box to flick home a Hakan Calhanoglu inswinger, and the Bosnian put an end to a flurry of Inter pressure on 56 minutes, as he bundled in a Federico Dimarco cross from the left byline.
Lautaro Martinez swiftly added to the tally at the near post just after the hour, glancing home the third from a Calhanoglu corner via a Palomino deflection.
The Atalanta centre-half put the ball in at the right end on 77 minutes as he scored a powerful header that Onana couldn’t keep out, as the Argentine and his team-mates sought that elusive equaliser.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side threw the kitchen sink at their visitors, but the Nerazzurri held on for a win that sees them – for now – into the Champions League places.
TALKING POINT – EVEN MIDFIELD
We talk about the midfield battle being the key part of any game, and it was – to an extent – here.
Inter had three ball-players in their engine room, as opposed to Atalanta’s workhorse duo of Koopmeiners and Ederson.
It was the three creators that came out on top, ably assisted by the wing-backs, who helped in narrower areas out of possession.
Calhanoglu sat deeper, conducting the play, while Nicolo Barella and Henrikh Mkhitaryan stretched the home defence by making penetrating runs beyond the strikers and into the channels.
Koopmeiners and Ederson played well – but the visitors had enough – more so with their numerical advantage – to overcome them.
Inter Milan’s Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko celebrtaes after scoring his side’s second goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Atalanta and Inter on November 13, 2022 at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium in Bergamo
Image credit: Getty Images
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – HAKAN CALHANOGLU, INTER
It would be easy to just pick the two-goal hero Dzeko, but let’s be different here.
The Turkey international was everywhere today; one of the only players to really get his foot on the ball and make something happen.
Operating in a less-familiar deep role, the former AC Milan man was able to roam where he pleased when in possession, popping up in pockets of space that the home defence just couldn’t seem to contend with.
He orchestrated the game’s tempo, increasing it significantly after the interval to haul his side into the top four with an important three points.
Inter Milan’s Argentinian forward Lautaro Martinez (C) celebrtaes after Atalanta scored an own goal during the Italian Serie A football match between Atalanta and Inter on November 13, 2022 at the Atleti Azzurri d’Italia stadium in Bergamo
Image credit: Getty Images
Atalanta: Musso 6, Palomino 6, Demiral 6, Scalvini 6, Hateboer 6, Koopmeiners 6, Ederson 6 Maehle 6, Pasalic 5, Lookman 6, Zapata 6. Subs: Malinovskyi 6, Okoli 6, Hojlund 6, Boga.
Inter: Onana 7, Skriniar 6, de Vrij 6, Bastoni 6, Dumfries 6, Barella 6, Calhangolu 8, Mkhitaryan 6, Dimarco 7, Martinez 6, Dzeko 7. Subs: Bellanova 6, Acerbi 6, Brozovic 6, Gosens 6, Correa.
16′: GREAT SAVE! Once more from Onana, as the corner is in towards Palomino who powers at goal! The Cameroonian beats it away.
23′: PENALTY! Atalanta have a spot kick, as Stefan de Vrij fells the advancing Zapata on the left side of the box. The Colombian didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, but the Dutchman was rash in his challenge and gives the hosts the chance to take the lead. // GOAL! Ademola Lookman scores, no mistake. He rattles into the top right corner, giing Onana no chance. 1-0 Atalanta.
36′: GOAL! Immediately, however, Inter are level. The second ball in from Calhanoglu was much better than his initial free kick, and Dzeko ghosts in unmarked to flick home past the onrushing Musso.
56′: GOAL! Inter are ahead, and it’s Edin Dzeko at the double. Good play down the left this tmie, as Dimarco gets to the byline, and the Bosnian bundles in from close range, via a touch from Maehle. 2-1.
61′: GOAL! There’s number three, and it’s Martinez who’s got it. He flicks home the Calhanoglu corner at the near post, beyond the bewildered Musso, who is stunned by the deflection off Palomino.
77′: GOAL! The resulting corner is turned home, and it’s Palomino! Onana can’t keep it out, and it’s 3-2.
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