Away to Verona has never been an easy affair for Inter. A Friday night affair on a short week of preparation compounded the difficulty of the task for Inter in the first half, but a scintillating end to the match put it all behind Simone Inzaghi’s team who showed that they can persevere just as they did last season in difficult situations.
New Verona manager Eusebio di Francesco has shown that he is willing to keep the foundations that former manager Ivan Juric laid at the Bentegodi. A team playing with three at the back that are compact out of possession and can spring on a counter or frustrate the opposition with a press.
Inter’s team remained unchanged everywhere but up top, where Lautaro Martinez joined Edin Dzeko in attack for the first time. Both Matteo Darmian and Ivan Perisic held their respective wingback spots over newcomers Federico Dimarco and Denzel Dumfries, who started the match on the bench.
VERONA (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Magnani, Gunter, Ceccherini; Faraoni, Martin, Ilic, Lazovic; Barak, Zaccagni; Cancellieri.
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Darmian, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Lautaro, Dzeko.
After kicking off with most of the momentum on their side, Inter’s start to the match quickly turned nightmarish just 15 minutes in after a terrible pass out of the back from Samir Handanovic left Marcelo Brozovic out to dry. The Coratian midfielder could only make a sliding attempt at the under hit ball before Verona midfielder Ivan Ilic picked up the pieces and chipped home to put the hosts up 1-0.
Inter looked in disarray after the goal. Sloppy in passing, suffocated by the Verona press, and unable to get out of their own half. The partnership of Dzeko and Lautaro also looked very new in a half that exemplified the growing pains of a team under new management with new players. Luckily, Inter were able to weather the storm and make it back to the dressing room down by just the one goal at the half.
The visitors badly needed to set the tone early in the second half and did so almost instantly. A long throw into the box from Perisic, putting on his best Roy Delap impression, was flicked on and found the head of Lautaro for the equalizer on a play that would bring a smile to the coldest of Stoke City fans.
After the goal just two minutes into the half, Inter held the attacking impetus and looked destined to get a second goal, though it was not clear who it would come from. Lautaro almost scored on a carbon copy of the first Perisic throw-in just minutes after the goal, but his chance was covered well and the shot was forced inches wide.
The breakthrough came late from a player whose things are probably still in boxes somewhere between Rome and Milan. Subbed on for his debut, former Lazio attacker Joaquin Correa made an instant impact for his new club with his first goal in black and blue just minutes after his inclusion. A great ball out wide by fellow substitute Arturo Vidal was chased down by Darmian just as it looked like it might roll out of play. The Italian flagged down the pass and played a pinpoint cross into the box for the newest Inter player to head home. An enthralling ending to a wonderful passage of play.
Joaquin Correa on his debut pic.twitter.com/YEvHP0T4HG— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 27, 2021
As if that was not enough, a slightly frantic end to end finale was then put to bed by Correa in the final moments of the match as he slotted home a great shot from range, reminiscent of Hakan Calhanoglu’s debut goal a week prior.
Joaquin Correa is having a debut to remember! His second of the day pic.twitter.com/4L2Zg4LXdf— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 27, 2021
Despite the shaky start, Inter roll on with another three points and can sit back and watch the rest of this round’s matches knowing they have done their job for the week.
Handanovic - 3: There’s something sad about watching the way Inter’s captain continues to regress. One shot on target and one goal from Verona on a chance created by his own error. Andrei Radu might be getting a start if Handa cannot get things sorted in the coming weeks.
Bastoni - 6: A bit slow in possession at times but hard to think of a foot he put wrong in this match. Sometimes going unnoticed as a defender is a good thing, though. He did his job well.
de Vrij - 7: Under his former coach, the Dutchman is still the same reliable defender as ever. One of the few composed players in the aftermath of the Verona goal.
Skriniar - 6: Defended very well but struggled in distribution of the ball when Verona came on strong with the pressing. Bent but did not break.
Perisic - 5.5: Not at his best in possession and got caught out a few times because of it. Subbed off for Dimarco who did much better.
Calhanoglu - 6: Had a rough first half like many of the Inter players did. No big mistakes but did have some trouble at times linking up with teammates through a compact Verona side.
Brozovic - 6: Had no chance on the Handanovic mistake but did little to stand out after it. Moved the ball along but did little to threaten.
Barella - 6: Still playing his football at a million miles an hour, for better or for worse. Lucky not to be carded in his disagreement with Mattia Zaccagni but still a decent performance.
Darmian - 8: While he is not the speed demon that Achraf Hakimi used to be, Darmian has shown he is still a quality option on the right. His tackles were pinpoint when Verona were threatening in the first half and his cross to Correa after sprinting to track down a long pass was a great play. Dumfries may not see the pitch if Darmian continues like this.
Lautaro - 6.5: His goal was very much needed in this season where he will be expected to take his game to another level, but beyond that his linkup with Dzeko looked like it is going to take some time to develop. He also fell into his habits of falling down and losing the ball too easily. Decent start but left much to be desired.
Dzeko - 5.5: Verona managed to keep the big Bosnian quiet, though his presence in the box on the first goal allowed the ball to find Lautaro. The understanding between the two will come, it will just take some time to gain understanding.
Vidal - 7: Like last week, the Chilean’s influence off the bench was massive. He showed a ton of grinta in the midfield and played the key ball out to Darmian for the second goal. Massive early season contributions.
Dimarco - 6.5: Another solid audition off the bench for the man gunning for Perisic’s spot on the left. If he continues to manage that side this well both in defense and attack, he may be starting soon.
Correa - 9 (MOTM): What a debut for Inter’s new number 19. Two goals in 16 minutes is quite the return for the man Inzaghi requested. His two goals included his first headed goal since 2017 while still playing for Sevilla and a wonderful shot from outside the box as the traveling Interisti were belting out “C’è Solo L’inter”. That’s four goals from three Inter players on their respective debuts this season, for anyone counting.
Sensi/Vecino - N/A
Inzaghi - 7: No manager plans to have their goalkeeper directly contribute to an opposition goal. His team were in a bit of shock after that, but his adjustments at halftime and subs as the game got into the latter stages made the difference. Good call on bringing in Correa to this team too.
Inter will be able to calmly sit back and watch the results come in from the other contenders this weekend. After a two week international break, the Nerazzurri will be back for a trip to the Marassi to face Sampdoria on September 12.