Hakimi and Lukaku on target as Inter beat Spezia to secure sixth straight league win

Hakimi and Lukaku on target as Inter beat Spezia to secure sixth straight league win



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Dec 20th 2020

Inter increased their points tally to 30 on Sunday after winning 2-1 against Spezia


MILAN - It’s now six straight Serie A wins for Inter as the Nerazzurri continued their rich vein of form on Sunday by beating Spezia 2-1. It was two second-half goals that toppled the opposition, with Conte’s side moving up to 30 points after 13 matches, just one point behind AC Milan, who beat Sassuolo. Following a lacklustre first half from both sides, it was goals from Hakimi and Lukaku that put Spezia to the sword, while Piccoli pulled one back for the visitors in the 94th minute. Sunday’s match was Spezia’s first-ever experience playing Inter at the San Siro, with Italiano’s side setting out in an ambitious 4-3-3 formation. This included Vignali, Ismajli, Mora and Acampora, as the opposition sought to starve the home side of space.

The match itself certainly wasn’t a classic, but Inter got the job done in the end. It wasn’t without its obstacles along the way, particularly as Ricci teamed up with Deiola and Mora to press Brozovic & Co in midfield. Inter opted for a 3-5-2, which duly led to some decent chances early on. The first fell to Lukaku, who tried his luck in the fourth minute after an assist from Lautaro; however, it only resulted in a corner. Next up was a brilliant burst of pace from Young, who skipped past two men on the left before forcing a save from the Spezia shot-stopper. Despite these early opportunities, it was clear Inter were lacking consistency. Neither of team’s two strikers were able to link up with the midfield, while the crossing from the flanks wasn’t up to its usual standard. The half-time whistle soon went with the visitors having enjoyed just over half of possession. Although they hadn't threatened Handanovic's goal, they hadn't been unduly troubled by Inter either.

Inter needed a spark to ignite the match, and Conte looked to provide this with the introduction of Sensi (who came on in Gagliardini’s place) at half-time. Six minutes after the restart, the Nerazzurri finally broke the deadlock. Great link-up play between the front two provided the impetus, with Lukaku expertly chesting the ball down to Lautaro. The Argentine then spread play for Hakimi, who, in his usual style, raced down the right before firing past the goalkeeper at the near post. It was his fourth goal of the season.

Having taken the lead, Inter could go about their business in a more assured manner, especially given the lack of precision in Spezia’s play. Handanovic remained a spectator, although the away side did briefly threaten when Nzola headed over the bar. In the 71st minute, Inter doubled their lead, a goal which put the game to bed. It all came about from the right wing, with Hakimi whipping in a ball that was handled by Nzola. After consulting VAR, Fabbri awarded a clear penalty. Lukaku then stepped up and sent Provedel the wrong way, scoring his eleventh penalty (from eleven) since signing for Inter.

The final 20 minutes saw Spezia make several changes and give everything to get back into it, but the best they could conjure up was a goal ruled out for offside. Conte, meanwhile, took off Lukaku, Hakimi and Young for some much-needed rest. With the match coming to an end, Inter’s hopes of keeping a clean sheet were dashed as Piccoli beat Darmian to the ball to grab a consolation. It was a reward for the assertive manner in which Italiano’s team had looked to play throughout. The final whistle was blown immediately afterwards, with the Nerazzurri coming away with a 2-1 victory – their sixth win in a row. For Antonio Conte’s men, 2020 will finish with a trip to Verona to face Hellas at 18:30 CET on Wednesday.

MATCH DETAILS

INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 A. Bastoni; 2 Hakimi (33 D'Ambrosio 80'), 23 Barella, 77 Brozovic (22 Vidal 66'), 5 Gagliardini (12 Sensi 46'), 15 Young (36 Darmian 80') ; 9 Lukaku (14 Perisic 80'), 10 Lautaro.Subs: 27 Padelli, 97 Radu, 11 Kolarov, 13 Ranocchia, 24 Eriksen.Coach: Antonio Conte.

SPEZIA (4-3-3): 94 Provedel; 4 Vignali, 19 Terzi, 34 Ismajli, 20 S. Bastoni; 27 Deiola (25 Maggiore 72'), 8 Ricci, 6 Mora (80 Agudelo 72'); 4 Acampora (15 Mastinu 90'), 18 Nzola (91 Piccoli 80'), 11 Gyasi (17 Farias 80').  Subs: 12 Krapikas, 5 Marchizza, 10 Agoumé, 16 Bartolomei, 21 Ferrer, 24 Estevez, 28 Erlic.Coach: Vincenzo Italiano.

Goalscorers: 51' Hakimi (I), 71' su rig. Lukaku (I), 94' Piccoli (S)Bookings: Brozovic (I), Nzola (S), Terzi (S)Notes: Yellow card for Antonio Conte (I)Injury time: 2' - 4'.

Referee: Fabbri.Assistants: Villa, Scatragli.Fourth official: Aureliano.VAR: Valeri.VAR assistant: De Meo.


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