ROME - Inter suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Lazio in a fiery contest at the Stadio Olimpico despite going ahead through Ivan Perisic early on from the penalty spot. Ciro Immobile, Felipe Anderson and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic were among the goals as the hosts staged what seemed an improbable comeback at the interval to inflict a first Serie A defeat of the season on Simone Inzaghi’s charges.
There were storylines aplenty in Inter’s 3-1 defeat by Lazio, from the South American players flying back to Italy at the last minute to Simone Inzaghi heading back to the Stadio Olimpico as a visiting coach after spending 22 years at the club. Then there was the bearing on the league standings itself, with Inter going into the game in third place. The win away to Sassuolo before the latest international break now feels like a distant memory, but Inter were unable to continue where they left off in the first of seven games in a jam-packed schedule before more international football resumes in November.
Perisic lined up in attack alongside Edin Dzeko, while Federico Dimarco and Matteo Darmian provided an attacking threat out wide. Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez and Stefano Sensi were unavailable, while Hakan Calhanoglu, Joaquin Correa and Lautaro Martinez were only fit enough for the bench. Maurizio Sarri sent his Lazio side out in a 4-3-3 formation, without Francesco Acerbi and with Toma Basic starting ahead of Luis Alberto.
It was an open game as expected, with both teams looking to get forward whenever possible. Inter made a fast start and Perisic seemed intent on troubling the Lazio rearguard both centrally and on the wing. Dzeko could’ve opened the scoring with just two minutes on the clock when his header flew over the bar. Felipe Anderson, meanwhile, was the main threat for the hosts in the first half, as he created openings with his penetrating runs.
Just as in Florence, Darmian and Barella were a constant thorn in their opponents’ side, by linking up well and making dangerous runs throughout, which is where the opener stemmed from, as the latter broke into the box before being brought down by Elseid Hysaj. Perisic calmly stepped up to send Reina the wrong way and put the Nerazzurri ahead in the 12th minute.
Samir Handanovic made a fine save to deny Basic in the 24th minute, while the goalscorer went close to doubling the visitors’ lead from long range moments later.
The pace dropped off in the second half, but Inter continued to create havoc from out wide, with Barella a constant threat, but the team’s failure to extend the one-goal lead proved costly when Alessandro Bastoni was penalised for handball in the 64th minute and Immobile equalised from the spot.
There were changes aplenty by both coaches, with Dimarco switched into defence on 70 minutes, as Denzel Dumfries came in down the right wing and Matias Vecino and Correa replaced Perisic and Roberto Gagliardini. Tiredness crept into the contest despite the substitutions and clear-cut chances were at a premium until the moment that the game hinged on.
With 81 minutes on the clock, Dimarco was brought down as Inter began an attack. While the defender remained injured on the ground, Lazio won the ball back and launched an attack that saw Immobile made space for a shot in the box, which Handanovic saved, only for Felipe Anderson to tap the ball home to make it 2-1 to the hosts. A melee ensued on the pitch delaying the restart for four minutes, with yellow cards brandished aplenty. By the end of the game, there were nine in total, six of which were shown to Inter players. The VAR check confirmed that the goal stood and Inzaghi’s side had the wind well and truly blown out of their sails.
Despite huffing and puffing for an equaliser, it was Lazio who added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time when Milinkovic-Savic headed home their third on the night. The final scoreline is harsh on Inter and is certainly one to forget quickly, particularly with a crucial Champions League clash coming up at home to Sheriff on Tuesday.
LAZIO 3-1 INTER (HT: 0-1)
Scorers: Perisic (p) 12, Immobile (p) 64, Felipe Anderson 81, Milinkovic-Savic 90+1.
LAZIO (4-3-3): 25 Reina; 77 Marusic, 3 Luiz Felipe, 4 Patric, 23 Hysaj (29 Lazzari, 66); 21 Milinkovic-Savic, 6 Leiva (32 Cataldi, 85), 88 Basic (10 Luis Alberto, 66); 7 Felipe Anderson (8 Akpa Akpro, 85), 17 Immobile, 9 Pedro (20 Zaccagni, 75).
Subs not used: 1 Strakosha, 31 Adamonis, 5 Escalante, 19 Vavro, 26 Radu, 27 Moro, 94 Muriqi.
Coach: Maurizio Sarri.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 De Vrij, 95 Bastoni (2 Dumfries, 67); 36 Darmian, 23 Barella (20 Calhanoglu, 86), 77 Brozovic, 5 Gagliardini (8 Vecino, 67), 32 Dimarco; 9 Dzeko (10 Lautaro, 76), 14 Perisic (19 Correa, 67).
Subs not used: 21 Cordaz, 97 Radu, 11 Kolarov, 13 Ranocchia, 33 D'Ambrosio, 48 Satriano.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
Booked: Basic (L), Gagliardini (I), Bastoni (I), Dumfries (I), Felipe Anderson (L), Lautaro (I), Milinkovic-Savic (L), Correa (I), Darmian (I).
Sent off: Luiz Felipe (L) after full-time
Added time: 1+6 minutes.
Assistants: Perrotti and Palermo.
Fourth official: Manganiello.
Assistant VAR: Preti.