MILAN - San Siro erupted at that precise moment. The curling Nicolò Barella strike spent less than a second in the air as it picked out the top corner as 66,000 people were brought to their feet at that moment which sealed the three points, It was a hard-fought but deserved 2-1 over Hellas Verona after the Nerazzurri went behind to a Verre penalty in the first half. The side responded to show character and heart to keep fighting back. The Verona goal faced 38 shots but Conte’s side were eventually able to secure the win and make it 31 points from 12 Serie A TIM matches.
Verona lined up in a 3-4-3 formation with Verre playing an important role in directing the play. The front three consisted of Salcedo, Lazovic and Faraoni. Inter posed a threat down the flanks with Biraghi and Lazaro joining the attacks for the Nerazzurri. It was from a counterattack that Verona took the lead. Lazovic got in space and Verona had men over with Zaccagni brought down by Handanovic. Verre stepped up and scored his first Serie A goal to make it 0-1.
The Hellas goal sparked Inter into life with Conte’s side registering 26 shots in the first half and 17 on target, a record this season in the top five European leagues. Inter’s pressure was constant. De Vrij started to play as a playmaker as Verona dropped back with the Dutch player launching moves from advanced positions. In the 25th minute, Lukaku had two big chances with Silvestri saving the first before firing just wide. Brozovic started to shoot more and one of his efforts clipped the bar in the 27th minute. In the final ten minutes, the chances were flowing as De Vrij shot form outside the box, Biraghi had a free kick but Vecino went closest of all when Silvestri saved off the line.
All the action was at one end of the pitch as Inter continued to bombard their opponent’s penalty area. If it had been Inter going into half time 1-0 up then the second 45 minutes would have been a procession for Inter. It was an incredible offensive effort by the Nerazzurri who were roared on by a truly fantastic crowd. The chances kept on coming and they didn’t just involve the forwards and midfielders but the defenders as well. Skriniar and Bastoni in particular were playing high up in their opponent’s half as they looked to get the crucial goals. Juric’s side were very defensively sound and force was required to overcome the determined rearguard action. Crosses, rebounds, deflections and sighs. Inter came close to scoring an equaliser on several occasions through chances for Lukaku, Brozovic and Skriniar.
The Gialloblù defence finally crumbled in the 65th minute: some great play on the left from Bastoni who managed to set Lazaro free. The Austrian crossed into the area and Vecino timed his run perfectly, thumping his header past Silvestri. San Siro erupted. Candreva came on and soon he was forcing saves from Silvestri. Bastoni remained a threat and Lukaku was unable to get on the end of another dangerous ball across the area. Chance after chance came for Inter. Lukaku wasted a golden opportunity in the 80th minute after finding himself one-on-one with Silvestri, but thankfully Barella managed to score the crucial goal.
The midfielder fired a rocket into the top right corner to beat Silvestri and win Inter the match: his first goal for Inter in Serie A. His celebration showed his pure unbridled joy. After that Inter stood firm to hold out for the final moments as Hellas Verona looked to equalise. Like in the games against Brescia and Bologna, it ends 2-1 in favour of Inter. Up next is the international break, and after that the Nerazzurri will be back in action once again!
INTER 2-1 HELLAS VERONA
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 19 Lazaro (33 D'Ambrosio 85'), 8 Vecino, 77 Brozovic, 23 Barella, 34 Biraghi (87 Candreva 63'); 10 Lautaro (30 Esposito 81'), 9 Lukaku.
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 2 Godin, 12 Sensi, 13 Ranocchia, 20 Borja Valero, 21 Dimarco, 39 Vergani, 40 Fonseca.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
HELLAS VERONA (3-4-2-1): 1 Silvestri; 13 Rrahmani, 21 Gunter, 33 Empereur; 5 Faraoni, 34 Amrabat, 32 Pessina, 88 Lazovic; 20 Zaccagni (66 Tutino 5'), 14 Verre (8 Henderson 63'); 29 Salcedo (9 Stepinski 84').
Substitutes: 22 Berardi, 96 Radunovic, 11 Pazzini, 15 Bocchetti, 18 Lucas Felippe, 25 Danzi, 27 Dawidowicz, 30 Wesley, 98 Adjapong.
Coach: Ivan Juric.
Goals: 19' pen. Verre (V), 65' Vecino (I), 83' Barella (I)
Bookings: Brozovic (I), Zaccagni (V), Lautaro (I), Barella (I)
Stoppage time: 1' - 5'
Assistants: Bottegoni, Rocca.
Fourth Official: Di Martino.
Assistant VAR: Vivenzi.