Inter Milan put forth a superb performance versus Sampdoria as they cruised to a 5-1 victory. Alexis Sanchez and Roberto Gagliardini were impactful in the first half as the two players combined for three of Inter’s five goals in the first half. Andrea Pinamonti and Lautaro Martinez also scored for Inter while Keita Baldé had the lone tally for Sampdoria.
The Nerazzurri showed no signs of fatigue after a full week of celebrations as they clinched their 19th Scudetto last weekend. Sampdoria struggled throughout the match as they failed to capitalize on their limited chances and were constantly vulnerable in the backend. Inter manager, Antonio Conte, had his men mentally prepared and well equipped for this match.
So, who were the winners and losers from Inter’s 5-1 victory versus Sampdoria?
Winner: Roberto Gagliardini
After clinching the Scudetto, Conte made many switches to his lineup and of those changes, he inserted Gagliardini in the midfield. The Italian stepped up for his side and put forth a magnificent performance for Inter. He played like elite Manchester United midfielder, Paul Pogba, as he made daunting challenges, won key battles and scored from a great individual effort.
Gagliardini was just as effective on the defensive side. He was physical and assertive as he made key interceptions and prevented Sampdoria from scoring on a few occasions. Although Sanchez scored a brace for his side, Gagliardini was the real hero as he scored the opening goal for his side within the first five minutes.
What was more impressive from Gagliardini was the assist he earned on their second goal. The midfielder showed great strength to fight off Thorsby and then advanced up field with plenty of room to work with. The midfielder followed up with a chip pass towards Sanchez, who was left with ample of space and scored.
Gagliardini finished the match with one goal, one assist, one key pass, a pass accuracy rate of 97.3%, and one interception.
Winner: Alexis Sanchez
It has been an impressive season for Sanchez, who continues to put forth strong performances for Inter. The forward has been one of Conte’s most reliable players when coming off the bench and has scored seven goals and contributed five assists this season.
However, Sanchez started in this match and was effective in the 54 minutes he played. He finished with two goals, one key pass, and one successful dribble. The forward’s first goal was the game-winner and he helped his side earn the three points.
Sanchez created numerous scoring chances as he made strong runs, was physical and won key challenges. He proved to be difficult to defend against for Sampdoria’s backline as he managed to get behind on their defense and get into good spaces to score.
On Inter’s second goal, Sanchez made an intelligent run into the box, where he was left unmarked and had ample space. Ashley Young delivered an accurate cross towards Sanchez and the forward followed up with a beautiful touch with the ball mid-air. He re-directed the ball past Sampdoria goalkeeper, Emil Audero, into the far corner and the goalkeeper had no chance to make the save. It was a great individual effort from Sanchez, who scored a beautiful goal for his side and capped off a great evening.
Winner: Keita Balde
It was a disastrous match for Sampdoria, who conceded five goals and struggled to defend against Inter’s offense. However, Balde was one of the few positives for the Blucerchiati. The ex-Inter player capitalized on a mistake made by Inter goalkeeper, Samir Handanovic, as he failed to make a routine save. The forward took advantage by regaining possession and quickly shot the ball towards an empty net. At this moment in the match, Sampdoria cut the deficit to one goal and gained momentum.
That lasted just one minute as the Nerazzurri immediately scored to regain their two-goal lead. Balde had a decent performance as he was effective with his passing and had many opportunities to score, yet was unable to convert. The forward finished the match with one goal, two key passes and a pass accuracy rate of 95.5%.
Loser: Samir Handanovic
It has been a horrendous season for Handanovic, who has struggled to make simple saves and conceded poor goals. Inter have dropped points to teams such as Spezia and Napoli this season after their goalkeeper made avoidable mistakes.
Sampdoria’s lone goal came off a mistake by the Inter goalkeeper. Jakub Jankto delivered an accurate cross into the box and Antonio Candreva mistimed the shot. There was little power in his shot and it should have been a simple save for Handanovic yet he was slow to react. He managed to get a hand on the ball but failed to corral the ball which resulted in Balde scoring.
From time to time this season, he’s made numerous poor decisions and this will be an area Inter will surely need to upgrade next season. Starting Ionut Radu should be a serious consideration moving forward.
Loser: Lorenzo Tonelli
Inter’s opening goal within the first five minutes provided momentum for the home side. It was a terrible start from Sampdoria and for one player in particular, Lorenzo Tonelli. The defender made countless mistakes in the backend, where he made poor tackles, conceded numerous fouls and received a yellow card for a reckless challenge on Martinez.
Inter’s opening goal was the result of Tonelli’s poor defending. He mistimed his challenge on Sanchez just outside the box and the forward managed to send a pass towards Martinez. Ashley Young then crossed the ball into the box from the left side and Gagliardini out-muscled Tonelli inside the box to score.
Tonelli was all over the place as he was out of position and struggled to get back after losing the challenge versus Sanchez. It was a poor performance from the defender, who played only 45 minutes and was subbed off at the start of the second half.