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Lazio 0-2 Inter Milan: Match Recap

Powered by Inter’s deadly frontline duo, Inzaghi triumphs over his old side

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A TIM Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/Getty Images

Inter just keeps winning. Not even a visit to Simone Inzaghi’s old stadium, a place of frequent defeats for the Nerazzurri of late, nor the chance to go four points clear at the top thanks to Juve’s draw with Genoa, could keep Inter from claiming a 2-0 victory over Lazio under the Sunday night lights at Stadio Olimpico. Lautaro Martinez bagged the eventual game-winner in the 40th minute before Marcus Thuram ended Lazio’s hopes on the counter in the second half. It was far from a picture-perfect performance, and the Nerazzurri underwent long stretches of suffering, but always bent and never broke, allowing its final third quality to shine through and make the difference.

Starting XIs

Lazio’s XI (4-3-3)
Inter’s XI (3-5-2)

With de Vrij, Dumfries, and now Cuadrado all unavailable, Simone Inzaghi trusted the big occasion to Yann Bisseck, while Matteo Darmian filled in on the right flank. Lazio, meanwhile, lined up in Maurizio Sarri’s favored 4-3-3, but with the surprise benching of Luis Alberto for Daichi Kamada in midfield.

First Half

The intensity levels were turned to high from the word go, but it was Lazio that fared better under the bright Stadio Olimpico lights. The home team had Inter out of sorts and unable to establish a rhythm, controlling the majority of possession and looking particularly strong in the center of the park. Inter, however, would find the opener out of the blue forty minutes in. A wayward Adam Marusic backpass landed at the feet of Lautaro, who rounded Ivan Provedel and tucked home his 29th goal of 2023 - the most of any Inter player in a calendar year since 2000.

It was far from a perfect half, but Inter had the advantage thanks to Marusic’s error and Lautaro’s lethal finish. The stats were quite even, with Lazio holding 53% of possession and 6 shots (2 on target) versus Inter’s 7 (one on target).

Second Half

Inter’s lead almost disappeared just moments after the interval, when Nicolo Rovella pounced on an ill-timed Hakan Calhanoglu giveaway and drove goalwards, only to be thwarted at the last minute by a Sommer save. That set the theme for the second half, which featured a bit more Inter possession but just about every chance coming in front of Sommer’s goal. And just as I was writing that, Marcus Thuram doubled Inter’s lead with the visitors’ first shot of the second half, burying a Barella assist on the counter in the 66th minute.

It was almost 3 five minutes later, but Henrikh Mkhitaryan couldn’t take advantage of a similar situation and sent a shot of his own directly at Provedel. At the other end of the pitch, any hopes of a Lazio comeback (which had made no signs of appearing up to that point) were struck down by a straight red to Manuel Lazzari for blasphemy in the 86th minute. In fact, it was Inter that came closest to a third goal of the night, but Mkhitaryan and Frattesi let chances to ice the cake go begging. All in all, though, it was an evening to savor for the Nerazzurri.

Player Ratings

Sommer - 7: Another shutout to his name, and this one he had to earn with four far-from-routine saves.

Bastoni - 7.5: Had a busy evening on both sides of the ball, with the most touches on Inter (104), 8 accurate long balls, 4 duels won, 2 clearances, 2 interceptions, and 1 blocked shot.

Acerbi - 7: Rock-solid in the back, controlling Inter’s defense and notching 7 clearances, 1 blocked shot, and 1 interception.

Bisseck - 7: Just his second Serie A start but already looks like a perfect fit, playing a key role in the shutout with 6 duels won, 3 clearances, the 3rd-most touches on Inter, and a 93% passing accuracy.

Dimarco - 7: A well-rounded showing from the Italian, tallying 3 duels won, 2 clearances, 1 blocked shot, 2 key passes, 2 accurate long balls, and a 93% passing accuracy.

Mkhitaryan - 6: A fairly lowkey evening from Mkhitaryan, featuring a 94% passing rate, 1 key pass, and 4 clearances.

Calhanoglu - 6.5: His almost costly giveaway to Rovella was the only blemish to an otherwise solid outing, featuring 2 duels won, 4 accurate long balls, 1 key pass, and a 94% passing rate.

Barella - 6.5: Assisted Thuram’s goal to follow up a strong performance in the final third against Napoli, but didn’t have much of an impact otherwise, with just the 6th-most touches on Inter and a 79% passing rate.

Darmian - 6: Struggled going forward with a 77% passing rate and a team-high 14 giveaways, but made up for it on the defensive end with 4 clearances and 1 interception.

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A TIM Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Lautaro - 8 (Man of the Match): Broke the deadlock with a not-as-easy-as-it-looked finish and was generally a nuisance for Lazio, winning 11 of 16 duels, and notching 2 clearances, 2 interceptions, and 1 key pass.

Thuram - 7: Continues to show up in the big moments with a superbly taken goal, although the rest of his workload came on the defensive side of things with 1 clearance, 1 blocked shot, and 1 interception.

Inzaghi - 8: Got the win over his old club, and deservedly so, doing excellently to neutralize Lazio by allowing Inter to bend (quite a bit on some occasions) but never break. Has the defense in particular playing on another level entirely, and even when Plan A isn’t working, still finds ways to win.

SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A TIM Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
SS Lazio v FC Internazionale - Serie A TIM Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

Inter now has a four-point lead on top of Serie A after Juve drew with Genoa. Next up is a home Coppa Italia Round of 16 meeting with red-hot Bologna Wednesday and then a visit from Lecce on Saturday in league play.

Forza Inter!