Inter got just what the doctor ordered. After Friday’s 3-1 defeat at the hands of Lazio set alarm bells ringing, a midweek clash with Cremonese set things back on track. The Nerazzurri eased to a 3-1 victory powered by a super showing from Nicolo Barella and looked the best it has all season.
Despite big matches against Milan and Bayern looming in the next week, Inzaghi rolled with a largely first choice eleven against Cremonese, condemning Andre Onana and Kristjan Asllani to another week on the bench. The only changes from Lazio were Darmian in for Bastoni, Dzeko and Correa in for Lu-La, and Calhanoglu back in midfield.
It wouldn’t take long for the good guys to find the opener via the boot of Joaquin Correa, who poked home a loose rebound from an Edin Dzeko effort in the 12th minute.
Joaquin Correa is active and makes it 1-0 for Inter!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 30, 2022
Nicolò Barella's driving run finds Dzeko, his effort is saved but Joaquin Correa reacts quickly. pic.twitter.com/OozIaGNh7s
Inter stayed on the front foot and got another reward for its troubles in the 38th minute, this time off a sublime Barella volley. Seriously, take a look or 20 at this.
That brought the first half to a close with Inter deservedly leading 2-0, and though possession figures were largely even, the hosts had 8 shots (3 on target) compared to just two attempts from Cremonese, both comfortably stopped by Handanovic.
Cremonese had a handful of chances to start the second half, with Aiwu sending a header inches wide, a Zanimacchia rocket from distance whizzing narrowly above the frame, and a wide-open Dessers volley from close range flying over. That final miss just about spelled the end of Cremonese’s resistance and Lautaro came off the bench to ice the game in the 76th minute.
WHAT A GOAL LAUTAROOO— All About Argentina (@AlbicelesteTalk) August 30, 2022
A clean sheet would be too much to ask for, however, with David Okereke curling a beauty into the upper ninety right on the 90 minute mark.
David Okereke has a consolation goal for Cremonese.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) August 30, 2022
A sensational goal from the Nigerian. pic.twitter.com/whpCGoZWcj
Handanovic - 6.5: Couldn’t do anything on Okereke’s goal and was largely untested outside of that, but the veteran always took care of the few efforts Cremonese did manage to get on target.
Dimarco - 7.5: Much improved from last Friday - although you can’t help but think the quality of opposition might have had a bit to do with that. Led Inter in touches (82), completed 11 of 15 long balls, made 3 clearances, 2 interceptions, and won 4 duels - though he did tally the most giveaways on the team as well (15).
de Vrij - 7: 5 clearances, 3 interceptions, and 6 duels won in a solid showing from the Dutchman.
Skriniar - 7: Similar numbers as his partner: 5 clearances, 2 blocked shots, 2 duels won, and 1 interception.
Darmian - 6.5: Not much of an impact from the Italian, given a surprise start over Robin Gosens (who may be headed to Bayer Leverkusen in a surprise twist). Managed just 1 cross and 1 key pass, but had a bit more to do off the ball, winning 3 duels and making 3 tackles.
Calhanoglu - 7.5: Second in touches (70), made 6 key passes, 3 accurate long balls, won 4 duels, and notched an assist with a pin-point cross to Barella. Has to be a starter whenever he’s fit.
Brozovic - 6: Still not the Brozovic we’re used to seeing - made just 52 touches, 0 key passes, and only 2 successful long balls, though he did put in 3 clearances and 3 interceptions.
Barella - 8.5 (Man of the Match): Simply magnificent. Scored one of the goals of the season, assisted Lautaro, tallied 5 key passes, and won 4 duels.
Dumfries - 6.5: Wasn’t quite as effective in the final third as he’d have hoped but still threatened to wreak havoc all evening, and also won 4 field.
Dzeko - 6.5: No goals for the Bosnian but helped create the opener and even though his legs aren’t what they used to be, he still has a savvy intelligence that Inter sure can use (albeit in moderation for Dzeko’s sake).
Correa - 7: Snagged a goal but totaled just 22 touches all night before coming off for Lautaro. Not too bad all things considered.
Inzaghi - 7: Great response from the squad after the Lazio debacle, though the lack of squad rotation ahead of Milan and Bayern is a bit concerning, or at least could be. Nonetheless a win here was vital and it was job well done.
After Milan’s draw with Sassuolo Inter is second on 9 points through four rounds, one short of Roma. The focus now turns to the big one Saturday against the Rossoneri and then the Champions League opening Matchday at home vs Bayern Wednesday.