After making pretty quick work of Viktoria Plzen to guarantee safe passage to the next round of the Champions League, Inter Milan managed to do the same in Serie A, putting three past a hapless Sampdoria led by recent managerial appointee Dejan Stankovic.
For Inter, there were some questions about who would start at striker. With Romelu Lukaku getting back on the pitch and the scoresheet against Plzen, Simone Inzaghi had decisions to make. However, the tried and not always so true combination of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez made another start. Stefan de Vrij also got a start in his competition with Francesco Acerbi. Denzel Dumfries nearly did not start after taking a knock in warmups, but was able to take the pitch.
It has been a downright terrible season for Sampdoria. With Genoa already being relegated, the city runs a serious risk of having no Serie A sides. However, it is early days for manager and Inter treble legend Stankovic, as he tries to carve out a managerial career after a very fruitful playing career.
INTER (3-5-2): Onana; Skriniar, de Vrij, Bastoni; Dumfries, Barella, Calhanoglu, Mkhitaryan, Dimarco; Dzeko, Lautaro.
SAMPDORIA (4-4-1-1): Audero; Bereszynski, Ferrari, Colley, Amione; Gabbiadini, Villar, Yepes, Leris; Djuricic; Caputo.
Sampdoria never really got going in this match, making traffic one way for Inter. Dzeko got the first chance on goal after seven minutes. Emil Audero made the fairly easy save, but things did not get much easier for the Sampdoria goalkeeper.
The pressure turned into a goal on 20 minutes, when de Vrij got on the end of a Hakan Calhanoglu corner, heading a laser past Audero. Another great sign for the Dutch defender, as he has begun to return to 2019 vintage.
Heads up!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 29, 2022
Stefan de Vrij with a thumping effort and the San Siro loves it. pic.twitter.com/L1k4DOSDPI
With little response from the visitors, Inter were able to go hunting for a second goal to make the match comfortable before halftime. The second did come, spectacularly. A long ball from Alessandro Bastoni came to a rest at the foot of Nicolo Barella, who was able to laser home in a one on one with Audero. A world class goal from Barella as he continues on one of the best stretches of form of his career. Inter rolled into halftime comfortably in control.
NICOLÒ BARELLA SMASHES THE BALL AND INTER DOUBLE THEIR LEAD IN STYLE. pic.twitter.com/fKkwiTYQmf— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 29, 2022
By the time the second 45 rolled around, the match was not much more than a formality, save the whopping six yellow cards that Sampdoria accumulated. Sampdoria midfielder Gerard Yepes was lucky to not be sent off for a second yellow in the first half. Stankovic acknowledged this by subbing off the young Spaniard just as the second half began.
Inter continued to create chances, with Dzeko nearly scoring twice in the first few minutes of the half. Despite the chances, no one could find the third before substitute Joaquin Correa carried the ball from outside of his own penalty box all the way to the other end of the pitch before finishing the run with a splendid goal.
JOAQUIN CORREA WITH A SUPREME SOLO EFFORT.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 29, 2022
He carried the ball from his own half and finished sweetly. pic.twitter.com/uGspaE2Xlk
Correa’s goal capped off a wonderful Inter performance and left Inter fans with hope that all four strikers can get up and running. The combination possibilities up top are very interesting if all of them can be fit and firing at the same time.
Inter could have had a fourth, but no one will be upset with a comfortable 3-0 win. The Nerazzurri continue their climb back towards the top end of the table.
Onana - 6: Another match with little to do, but that is not a problem to anyone of the Inter persuasion.
Skriniar - 7: A rock at the back, and a force to be reckoned with in all phases of play. Hope his contract situation is resolved sooner rather than later.
de Vrij - 8 (MOTM): The renaissance of Stefan de Vrij has been a great revelation over the past month. When he won best defender in Serie A, he was great in all phases of play. Now that he has gotten the defending back on track, the goals are coming too. Hope he can continue in this form.
Bastoni - 8: Settling back into his role on the left and playing some of his best football so far. Very few players in the world, let alone defenders, could make the assist he did for Barella’s goal.
Dumfries - 6.5: Got into good positions and defended well, but did not have the best game in attack. That pre-match knock eventually forced him off. Hopefully is alright.
Barella - 8: Wow. He has put every part of his game together. Now he’s even making those runs into the box for goals like this one. Felt a bit like Simone Inzaghi has imposed some of the same instructions on the Italian that he did for a certain Sergej Milinkovic-Savic at Lazio.
Calhanoglu - 7: Again he was so smart on the ball. His passing from open play has improved greatly over his time on the other side of the city. The dead balls have always been there, and got him another assist in this one.
Mkhitaryan - 6.5: I am very surprised with Mhki’s performances over the past month or so. I did not expect him to play this deep or even really have an effect on anything. However, his influence on the match is a joy to watch. So intelligent.
Dimarco - 6.5: Absolutely devastating in attack when linking up with Mhkitaryan and Bastoni. Still not the greatest in defense, but makes up for it on the other side of the ball as almost always.
Dzeko - 6.5: Unlucky not to score, but it is great to see him able to take a rest towards the end of matches now. Hope this can keep him fit and firing deep into the season.
Lautaro - 6.5: Looked a bit gassed at times and could use a rest. Still gave his best, but clearly not quite at the highs of recent matches.
Correa - 7: When the stakes are low, he looks like one of the best strikers out there. He struck again with a great goal after Sampdoria had conceded the match. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful goal and hopefully something to build on.
Lukaku - 6.5: Dragged defenders out for Correa to make his run and take his goal. These two are an attacking duo I could see having some success. They compliment each other quite well.
Acerbi - 6: Not much to do when he came on. Nearly caused an own goal but crisis was avoided.
Bellanova/Asllani - N/A
Inzaghi - 7: Has his balance with this squad and can pick and pull personnel with ease now. Good lineup, smart subs, basically everything we weren’t seeing very early in the season. Hope there are some more players rotated for a dead rubber match against Bayern with a trip to Juventus looming after.
Next up for Inter are two big names. Trips to Munich and Turin will pit the Nerazzurri against Bayern Munch and Juventus. The trip to Munich is but a mere formality for the two teams that have sealed their spots in the next round of the Champions League, but the trip to Turin will be one that Inter really need in their recovery from the early season blues.