Eriksen and Hakimi with the goals as Inter win in Crotone!


May 1st 2021

A 2-0 victory at the Stadio Ezio Scida: the Nerazzurri close to their objective

CROTONE – While football can be a funny old game, it can also be cruel. While one team is celebrating after extending their lead at the top, another is saying goodbye to Serie A after a display full of heart. The former is Inter, Antonio Conte’s determined and fantastic Nerazzurri. We’re sit top on 82 points, 14 ahead of second-place Atalanta. And now we’re counting down to an objective that we don’t want to mention but which is very much within reach. We can almost touch it. Now, we have to remain patient.

Christian Eriksen and Achraf Hakimi were the players who got on the scoresheet in Crotone to seal victory for the Nerazzurri. Two musicians who are part of an orchestra where everybody contributes to a perfect harmony. Soloists, however, know how to choose the right moments to take centre stage. Eriksen, who had been on the pitch for just four minutes, struck the ball with venom, just like he did in Naples. This time, it was his right foot which left its mark. Hakimi, meanwhile, used his left to seal a precious win.

Playing away to a side whose destiny was practically set in stone didn’t mean that Inter could take things for granted. Although Cosmi’s Crotone were all but down, the Nerazzurri needed to pick up points to move closer to their objective at the other end of the table. It was never going to be easy and the result wasn’t a given.

The hosts showed pride and displayed the right spirit to create a competitive and lively encounter. ‘Lively’ could be used to describe the runs made by Ounas, who was one of the most dangerous players in the first half. Inter, for whom Sensi lined up in midfield in place of Eriksen, never had to dig in, however, and produced a tidy display in the opening period, with Brozovic, Barella and Sensi constantly playing dangerous balls forward and unsettling the Calabrian defence. The Nerazzurri finished the half with 14 shots but no goals to show for their efforts.

Sensi was at the heart of things and Inter were benefitting from his mobility, although he was unlucky with his attempts at goal. Then, there was the woodwork, something that Conte’s side have often hit in the past few weeks. This time around, Lukaku saw his glancing header from Sensi’s corner come off the post, while Lautaro then struck the upright with a low strike from just inside the box.

Without overextending, Inter continued to up the pressure and get more men forward,  including their defenders. Indeed, Skriniar and Bastoni were often involved. It became almost a siege on the Crotone goal with acrobatic efforts, shots on the volley and headers all paying testament to Inter’s determination to score. 

While remaining composed, Inter knew that they had to keep pushing hard in order to find the breakthrough and wear Crotone down. It was clear that it wasn’t going to be easy as Cosmi’s side left little space open, while Messias and Ounas were threats on the counter-attack when they were able to escape Nerazzurri pressure. If Hakimi was looking to keep Cordaz busy from range, Handanovic had little to do at the other end, with Crotone failing to register a shot on target. By the final whistle, Inter had had 23 shots in total compared to five for the hosts. 

The decisive shot came in the 69th minute and it was one of the new faces on the pitch who struck. Sanchez back-heeled the ball for Lukaku (now on 20 league goals and ten assists), who laid it off for Eriksen. The Dane’s powerful long-range hit took a slight deflection on its way in.

The goal put wind in the sails of Inter but was a deadly blow for Crotone, who were set to be mathematically condemned to relegation with defeat. The final minutes saw Crotone struggle to stop Perisic on his bursts forward, a disallowed Lukaku goal and timid attempts from the hosts to get the ball into the Inter box.

It was a classic Inter move in stoppage time to wrap things up. Barella won the ball high up and moved it forward quickly. Hakimi was on the end of the lighting-quick break and slid the ball home to make it 2-0 and secure the three points and an even stronger grip on top spot. The locations behind key moments can be hard to predict, and the Stadio Ezio Scida was the venue this time. Inter’s wins are there though and can speak for themselves. There’s not far to go now…


CROTONE (3-5-2): 1 Cordaz; 6 Magallan, 5 Golemic, 26 Djidji; 17 Molina, 30 Messias, 8 Cigarini (95 Eduardo 46'), 10 Benali (77 Vulic 66'), 69 Reca (32 Pereira 38'); 7 Ounas (97 Riviere 72'), 25 Simy.Substitutes: 16 Festa, 22 Crespi, 3 Cuomo, 20 Rojas, 21 Zanellato, 33 Rispoli, 34 Marrone, 44 Petriccione.Coach: Serse Cosmi. 

INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 2 Hakimi, 23 Barella, 77 Brozovic, 12 Sensi (24 Eriksen 65'), 36 Darmian (14 Perisic 65'); 9 Lukaku, 10 Lautaro (7 Sanchez 65').Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 97 Radu, 5 Gagliardini, 8 Vecino, 13 Ranocchia, 15 Young, 33 D'Ambrosio, 99 Pinamonti.Coach: Antonio Conte.

Goalscorers: 69' Eriksen (I), 92' Hakimi  (I)Bookings: Brozovic (I), Riviere (C), Eriksen (I)Added time: 2' - 3'.

Referee: Prontera.Assistants: Mastrodonato, Margani.Fourth Official: Pezzuto.VAR: Manganiello.VAR Assistant: Di Vuolo.

Italian version

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