There have been plenty of wild matches in Florence when Inter are in town. Especially in the last half-decade. From Mauro Icardi’s, hat trick in a 5-4 loss to a non-existent handball given against Danilo D’Ambrosio in a 3-3 draw in 2019, to like five others in between. nothing is ever normal in that stadium. The latest installment in this saga is now Saturday's 4-3 stoppage-time win for Inter, thanks to a freak goal deflecting off of Henrikh Mhkitaryan. Freak chance or not, Inter now have another consecutive win in Serie A as they continue to piece together a season.
Fiorentina have not had the best start to the season. Going into this match, they had scored just eight goals in Serie A on the season. In search of goals, manager Vincenzo Italiano fielded a front three of Christian Kouame, Arthur Cabral, and Nicolas Gonzalez. At the back, former Inter player Cristiano Biraghi captained the hosts.
Inter welcomed back Joaquin Correa in attack while continuing with Francesco Acerbi at left center back, presumably rotating with an eye on the upcoming Champions League match against Viktoria Plzen, which could guarantee Inter’s spot in the knockout rounds of the competition.
FIORENTINA (4-3-3): Terracciano; Dodo, Milenkovic, Quarta, Biraghi; Bonaventura, Amrabat, Duncan; Gonzalez, Cabral, Kouame.
INTER (3-5-2): Oana; Skriniar, de Vrij, Acerbi; Darmian, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Lautaro, Correa.
The madness started early in this match, with Lautaro Martinez laying the ball off to Nicolo Barella who scored a tough goal with the outside of his boot before 120 seconds could even pass.
2' Fiorentina 0️⃣ - 1️⃣ Inter (Barella)— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 22, 2022
15' Fiorentina 0️⃣ - 2️⃣ Inter (Martínez)
33' Fiorentina 1️⃣ - 2️⃣ Inter (Cabral)
Inter ahead at the break. pic.twitter.com/HTc9QK6k9k
Inter had plenty of chances to extend the lead and finally did just 14 minutes later as Lautaro added a goal to go with his early assist. A great dribble made just enough space for the Argentine to thrash home a left-footed shot. Early on, Inter were giving the impression that they would continue to dominate the match until Federico Dimarco gave up a penalty after fouling Giacomo Bonaventura on a shot follow-through that could have caused an injury.
Arthur Cabral dispatched the penalty, but Inter had to come away from the incident feeling lucky not to be down a man, avoiding any kind of card on the left wingback.
The penalty signaled a descent into chaos for the match. Tackles began to fly in, tempers began to flare, and action extended end to end. Despite the chaos, Inter made it into halftime with a 2-1 lead.
The second half began with some positivity for Inter, but the hosts steadily gained control of the match. An equalizer felt inevitable and came on the hour mark through former Lille man Jonathan Ikone, who scored an inch-perfect goal.
Changes for Inter came shortly after, but it was Lautaro who won a crucial penalty to get Inter back ahead in the match. Initially given as offside, VAR’s intervention awarded the penalty, which was dispatched for Lautaro’s brace. His third goal contribution in the game.
Lautaro Martínez from the spot.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 22, 2022
He has done it all for Inter today. pic.twitter.com/QJP1Hrvlni
Inter held onto the lead into extra time, but Fiorentina never looked to be out of the match. A feeling of chaos still held the match, anticipation for another goal, though it was not clear who it would be for.
In another shocking effort by a Fiorentina striker, Luka Jovic was able to get his foot on a volley that rifled past Andre Onana and Mhkitaryan at an unstoppable pace. With such an acrobatic strike so late in the match, it seemed the hosts had snatched a draw.
As hope was expiring for Inter, the unthinkable happened when Edin Dzeko helped win the ball in midfield, helping Nicolo Barella latch onto the ball while running at the Fiorentina goal. His squaring ball was a bit short, but Lorenzo Venuti’s clearance attempt was pressed by Mhkitaryan. The attempt to blat the ball into touch bounded off the Armenian and into the back of the net for a shocking winner.
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN GIVES INTER ALL 3 POINTS RIGHT AT THE DEATH!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 22, 2022
A SEVEN GOAL THRILLER, WHAT A MATCH THIS WAS! pic.twitter.com/WLy4EdTkKQ
Fiorentina had a few minutes to get back into the match but were spent after scoring nearly a quarter of their entire Serie A season tally in one match. Inter took home a huge win that felt much bigger than most late-October Serie A victories.
Onana - 5.5: The goals were all not really his fault, but he did look shaky playing out of the back at times. Despite this, the boost he gives this team is always apparent. There is a level of comfort that the team can have with him in goal.
Skriniar - 6.5: When an opposition team scores three, it is clear no one was perfect. Nevertheless, he looks poised as Inter captain and is getting back to his best football.
de Vrij - 5.5: Beaten multiple times and seemed outmatched when Fiorentina played the ball into the box. Picked up by his defensive counterparts.
Acerbi - 5: Off the pace in this match as his age showed. The left side was a struggle all match for Inter.
Darmian- 5: The flanks looked outmatched constantly by a Fiorentina attack that had been paltry up to this point. Pedestrian on both sides of the ball.
Barella - 7.5: Needed to become a player that could pick Inter up and has become just that. Involved in the first and last Inter goals, bringing him up to nine goal contributions in all competitions already this season. Massive.
Calhanoglu - 7: Poised in the regista role again for this team. Not as noticeable as in recent matches, but still did not bring about any issues.
Mkhitaryan - 6.5: Outworked by the Fiorentina midfield for most of the match, but when it mattered, he continued his pressing run and was rewarded with the winning goal. Smart player, even if his legs have left him a bit.
Dimarco - 4: His worst performance in a while. Consistently beaten for pace and strength while also making terrible decisions like the one on the penalty that could and maybe should have seen him sent off in the first half. Big liability in this one.
Correa - 5: You could tell me he did not play in this match and I would believe you. Outside of a dummy in the buildup for the first goal, he was invisible. Will he ever be fit long enough to make an impact?
Lautaro - 9: This is his team, and he showed that again. Picked Inter up time and time again and is in arguably the best form of his career so far. Let us hope this is more than just another streak.
Dzeko- 6.5: Immediately showed what was missing with Correa in over him. Needed a rest though, and thanked Inzaghi for the start on the bench by being a huge piece of the winning goal.
Dumfries - 6: Able to calm that right flank down a bit when he came on, but still looked like a liability at times.
Gosens - 6: Gave Inter a boost on the left flank when he came on. Primarily in defense. Also made some good runs, though nothing came from them.
Bellanova - N/A
Inzaghi - 6.5: Got the attack right, even if the defense had a night to forget. Made the right subs when needed and gave rest to the guys he will need against Plzen on Wednesday. It wasn’t pretty, but he got the job done.
Next up for Inter are two games that are very winnable on paper. The Nerazzurri welcome Plzen to town with any result virtually guaranteeing Champions League knockout round qualification. A huge step for Inter in the season financially and from a footballing standpoint. A matchday before the last, no less. Then back at home for bottom-feeding Sampdoria this weekend, who look to be in all sorts of trouble early in this Serie A season. Inter have control of their season. If they want to continue to have it, they will take care of business this upcoming week.