After scoring seven in their last two Serie A matches against Roma and Cagliari without conceding, Inter were expected to make quick work of a remarkably bad Salernitana side on Friday. They did so with five goals coming in easy fashion, just as they have been coming for weeks now. This calendar year’s Inter also set records in this match, reaching and surpassing the 100 Serie A goal tally with one match to spare in 2021 for the first time in club history. A surprising feat given Inter have never competed outside of the top flight.
The hosts came into this match having lost to Genoa in the second round of the Coppa Italia on Tuesday, giving them a quick turnaround for this match. Only five players from that match started in this one. The players to start in both included goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo, defenders Riccardo Gagliolo, Luka Bogdan, and Juventus loanee Filippo Delli Carri as well as midfielder Lassana Coulibaly. Notably, former Inter midfielder Joel Obi also started in a team that included Franck Ribery and Simy up top.
Inter made only a couple of changes to the team that cruised past Cagliari. Simone Inzaghi handed starts to Danilo D’Ambrosio and Edin Dzeko while allowing Denzel Dumfries and Hakan Calhanoglu to continue their good runs of form.
SALERNITANA (5-3-1-1): Fiorillo; Delli Carri, Gagliolo, Gyomber, Bogdan, Ranieri; Coulibaly, Kastanos, Obi; Ribery; Simy.
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Sanchez.
Inter took control of the match from the opening kickoff, camping out in the Salernitana half and forcing the corner that led to the first goal just 10 minutes into the match. Calhanoglu, who forced the save from Fiorillo to earn the corner, found the head of Ivan Perisic who could not miss from just outside the six yard box. The early control successfully produced the goal that would decide the tone of the match, which quickly became a drubbing.
Goal number two came with just over 10 minutes left in the half and just after Samir Handanovic was forced into the best save he would make all match on Obi. Dzeko made space with a good run at the Salernitana defense and found an onrushing Dumfries bearing in on goal. The Dutchman scored with a shot off the crossbar and down, confirmed by goal line technology and redeeming his earlier miss just after the first goal from Perisic. Inter’s second goal capped a dominant half from the visitors.
Edin Dzeko finds Denzel Dumfries and Inter Milan double their advantage pic.twitter.com/QyIMU6Y48h— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 17, 2021
The second 45 minutes of play brought even more one way traffic for Inter. It only took six minutes for Inter to find their third goal. A great bit of interplay between Calhanoglu, Dzeko, and Alexis Sanchez ended with the Chilean slotting home a wonderfully worked counter attack.
Alexis Sanchez joins in on the party! pic.twitter.com/IsQbQtqIF1— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 17, 2021
With the match killed off, Inter were able to make substitutions around 55 minutes. Lautaro Martinez got into the match and got in on the scoring 22 minutes later after fellow substitute Roberto Gagliardini dribbled into the box and had the ball taken of of his foot but straight into the path of the Argentine who made no mistake and put the game even farther out of reach after some Salernitana pressure.
Lautaro Martínez comes off the bench and makes it 4-0 pic.twitter.com/UaitQZDYh0— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) December 17, 2021
After having the ball taken off of him in the buildup to the fourth goal, Gagliardini got one of his own two minutes from full time. Arturo Vidal’s pass intended for Lautaro was cut out and fell to the number five who scored his second goal of the season in his campaign to convince Inter to keep him. Referee Maurizio Mariani called time on the match just as the clock his 90, ending another dominant performance for Inter and making it a whopping 12 goals in their last three Serie A victories.
Handanovic - 6.5: Only really called upon for the great save on Obi. Other than that, he was able to enjoy a fifth clean sheet in a row pretty easily.
Bastoni - 6.5: With little to do in front of his goal, he was able to get forward at will and cause problems in attack as he has been doing to great effect recently. He will have a goal or an assist to show for it at some point if this continues.
de Vrij - 6.5: Good to see the Dutchman begin to get his legs back under him after his injury. Almost fully back to his elegant ways.
D’Ambrosio - 6.5: As he has done in Serie A this season, San Danilo was able to deputize effectively in the back three. No complaints in this one.
Perisic - 7: He continues to cruise on the left flank, doing anything he wants in defense and in attack. Made the Juventus loanee Delli Carri look bad on multiple occasions.
Calhanoglu - 7.5 (MOTM): Hakan continued his torrid pace in Serie A with two more assists and a monstrous 10 key passes. He might be in line for a second consecutive player of the month award.
Brozovic - 7: Easily able to resist the Salernitana pressure when applied and had his way with the midfield. Great ball to Dzeko to start the move for the second goal.
Barella - 6: Took a bad but possibly strategic yellow card early to rule himself out of the match against Torino to start his Christmas break early. Looked a little shaky throughout.
Dumfries - 7: A really good performance that could have been great if a couple of bounces had gone his way. One goal could have easily been two goals and an assist just in the first half. He seems to have finally settled in and it is fun to watch.
Dzeko - 6.5: Started slow but really imposed himself on the match as a facilitator. Made a great pass on the Dumfries goal and constantly dropped deep to spread the ball across the attacking line. Perhaps should have had a goal from at least on of his missed headers.
Alexis - 7: Continued on very well from his performance against Cagliari. Always thinking and always dangerous.
Vidal - 6: Not his most flashy performance, but an effective one off the bench. Did well in place of Barella.
Dimarco - 5.5: Did not quite have the same sharpness in movement and passing, but it did not cost him. Hopefully he will get a chance to improve against Torino.
Lautaro - 6.5: Looked really sharp off the bench and now has goals in each of Inter’s last five Serie A matches. This is the Lautaro that Inter need down the stretch.
Gagliardini - 7: Credited with an assist on Lautaro’s goal as well as the goal of his own. Not bad for being on the pitch only 19 minutes.
Kolarov - N/A
Inzaghi - 7.5: Did not have to change much, just ride the great performances through another smaller side. His Inter are absolutely dominant in every part of the pitch right now, and are guaranteed to gain points on one of or both Milan and Napoli this weekend. He is on his way to ending the year top of the table in style.
Up next to end 2021 for the Nerazzurri will be a home clash with Torino. This should be a bit more of a challenge than recent matches, as Ivan Juric always puts together a tough test for big sides no matter where he is. Still, Inter should be looking to end the year in the best way possible.