A win over Juventus was great, but it would not mean much in the grand scheme of the season if Inter could not build on some positive momentum with a win over Verona. Knowing they needed nothing less than three points on Saturday, Inter played perhaps their best football of 2022 to earn an important 2-0 win with much needed goals from Nicolo Barella and Edin Dzeko.
While Stefan de Vrij returned to full fitness after his injury against Liverpool, Simone Inzaghi did include a surprise change in defense by handing Federico Dimarco a start over Alessandro Bastoni. Elsewhere on the pitch, Joaquin Correa got the start alongside Dzeko.
Igor Tudor set up his Verona side with an attacking trident of Gianluca Caprari, Giovanni Simeone, and Daniel Bessa, hoping to find a way through Inter’s solid backline. Midfielder Ivan Ilic, who has given Inter problems in the past in this matchup, also got a start.
INTER (3-5-2): Handanovic; Skriniar, de Vrij, Dimarco; Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic; Dzeko, Correa.
VERONA (3-4-2-1): Montipo; Casale, Gunter, Ceccherini; Faraoni, Tameze, Ilic, Lazovic; Bessa, Caprari; Simeone.
Looking like a team who just breathed life back into their season, Inter started at a torrid attacking pace not seen since the latter portions of 2021. The hosts came close with a header from a corner that was just narrowly over the bar by de Vrij, then forced a couple of half chances and easy shots at Lorenzo Montipo before Ivan Perisic had a very dangerous shot saved by the Verona keeper. It was clear from the outset that Inter had started in a different gear in what quickly began to look like the Nerazzurri’s best first half performance of 2022.
After 21 minutes of relentless pressure, Inter were rewarded for their bright performance with a goal. Perisic picked off a wayward pass from Bessa, drove down the flank, and delivered a cross that Nicolo Barella finished off with a very slick touch.
Ivan Perišić Nicolò Barella— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 9, 2022
Inter take the lead against Verona. ⚫ pic.twitter.com/ckKMXGA3L9
The hosts nearly doubled their lead moments later through Correa, as Barella played a great ball into the striker, but his shot was saved by the feet of Montipo. It did not take much longer for the second to come though, as Perisic collected his second assist of the evening by flicking on a Dimarco corner that found the feet of Dzeko for the first goal for an Inter striker since Alexis Sanchez late against Torino on March 13.
Edin Dzeko— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 9, 2022
His 13th goal in the Serie A this season. pic.twitter.com/RNtu0PLjj6
Verona attempted to hit back through Simeone, who got through on goal, but his shot was saved very well by Samir Handanovic on the only clear-cut chance for the visitors in the half. Inter went into the dressing room up 2-0 with most of their work done.
Like the last match against Juventus, Inter set out to defend their first half lead and not much else. After returning from injury, de Vrij was replaced at the opening whistle of the second half with a thigh issue. Danilo D’Ambrosio came in and played on the right of the back three with Milan Skriniar moving to the center of the three as he played against Juventus.
In a similar fashion to last season, Inter looked to defend their lead and hit out on the counter when needed. This almost worked to great effect with Denzel Dumfries getting in behind early but missing his shot.
With around half an hour left in the match, Verona made their push. A shot from Simeone stung the gloves of Handanovic with substitute Kevin Lasagna firing a shot from distance just over the bar moments later.
Inter nearly killed the game off entirely on 72 minutes, but a great save from Montipo to push a D’Ambrosio shot onto the post kept Verona within two goals. Verona answered with a dangerous shot from Ilic that had to be blocked well by Skriniar.
After the Ilic chance, the match was virtually out of reach for Verona given the time left. Inter held strong for the final few minutes and rode out the match as 2-0 victors to put further pressure on Napoli and Milan.
Handanovic - 6.5: When the captain is making saves, the rest of the team is much more confident. He made his saves today in convincing fashion and had no shaky moments on either side of the ball.
Dimarco - 6.5: A surprise inclusion against his former side, but he paid Inzaghi back well for the confidence. He could have scored on a driving run early but contributed on the corner for Dzeko’s goal.
de Vrij - 6: Played a decent first half on his return, but departed with another fitness issue. Hopefully, it isn’t serious.
Skriniar - 7: The most active of the defenders on the day. Stopped everything that came Inter’s way, just as we’ve become used to seeing.
Perisic - 7.5 (MOTM): After a dip in form, he only goes out and provides two assists on the day. One from a cross and one from a training ground routine to flick the ball on from corners. A great match all around. Hope that contract is coming soon.
Calhanoglu - 6.5: Showed the defensive side of his game that has come along with his move to a mezzala position. Got most of his tackles right and was a consistent piece in buildup.
Brozovic - 7: A trademark Brozo game. No pressure on him in the midfield, or at least none that he could not evade. Seems to always be a step ahead of everyone, even when a mistake is made.
Barella - 7: The goal early definitely helped his confidence, as he was everywhere on the pitch. Putting pressure on the opposition and threading great passes as he can when he’s at peak performance.
Dumfries - 6: Nothing too outstanding in this match from him. Got forward a couple of times, but got in his own way when it came to the final ball. Playing as a wingback just may not suit him as well as right back.
Dzeko - 6.5: Finally got his goal for some much needed confidence going forward. He seems to enjoy his football more with Correa supporting him.
Correa - 6.5: Made some creative and dynamic runs at the Verona defense but could not get a goal. His tendency to drift out left also leaves more room for Dzeko to operate in the middle. I think he’s earned another start given the result.
D’Ambrosio - 6.5: Played a solid second half in defense. Also could have had a goal if not for Montipo and the post. Can’t ask for much more from him off the bench.
Gosens - 6: Still getting into shape to play in this team, but a decent cameo as Inter began to really shut up shop.
Vidal - 6: Gave the ball away pretty often as Inter repelled attacks. Not a very remarkable substitute appearance.
Bastoni - 6: Was not up to the pace of the match, but it was not much of an issue with Skriniar beside him.
Gagliardini - N/A
Inzaghi - 7: The squad responded very well after the win over Juventus. These types of responses start at the top with the manager. Credit to him for putting urgency into the players, starting with Dimarco as a change of pace, and for getting his subs right for another clean sheet.
Inter will be back in action on Friday evening away to Thiago Motta’s Spezia before the Coppa Italia semifinal second leg the following week. Inter just need to keep this momentum rolling through Spezia before catapulting themselves into a season-defining match against their city rivals.