SALERNO – Simone Inzaghi’s Inter produced a sublime performance away to Salernitana to move four points clear at the top of the Serie A table and extend the team’s winning run to six games.
The pitch wasn’t in perfect condition, but that had little impact on the flowing football displayed by an Inter line-up that included Danilo D’Ambrosio and Alexis Sanchez in the same formation as against Cagliari last time out.
One minor negative on the night was Nicolo Barella’s yellow card which will see him sit out the final league game of the calendar year against Torino after a late tackle in the first half.
The result was never in doubt from the opening stages, with the visitors taking the lead as early as the 11th minute when Ivan Perisic headed home Hakan Calhanoglu’s pinpoint outswinging corner, which was the Turk’s fifth assist from a set piece so far this season.
There was an excellent atmosphere at the Stadio Arechi despite the hosts’ troubles on and off the pitch at present, and on another day, this could well have been a banana skin against the team bottom of the pile, but not today.
Inter were ruthless and relentless throughout, with the range of goalscorers perfectly showcasing the strength in the squad and desire to play entertaining football. The sixth win in a row takes the Nerazzurri up to 43 points in the league, with the final game of 2021 to come against Torino at San Siro on Wednesday.
Denzel Dumfries was not disheartened by Vincenzo Fiorillo’s fine save to push his low shot wide as he tucked home, possibly via his shin, Edin Dzeko’s low cross with just after 30 minutes on the clock, with goal-line technology confirming that the ball had crossed the line before it bounced back out. It was the club’s 100th Serie A goal of 2021, breaking the previous record of 99 in 1950. That figure would end up reaching 103 by the end of the contest.
The two-goal lead at the interval certainly didn’t flatter Inter and Simone Inzaghi sent his charges out for the second half in determined fashion.
Alexis Sanchez finished off a stunning counter-attack involving Edin Dzeko and Calhanoglu on 52 minutes to make it 3-0 after the Turkish midfielder’s second assist of the night.
A string of second-half substitutions allowed Inzaghi to look ahead to Wednesday’s match at San Siro, with Arturo Vidal, Roberto Gagliardini, Federico Dimarco, Lautaro Martinez and Aleksandar Kolarov all entering the fray. Two of the substitutes even managed to get on the scoresheet in the closing stages, with Lautaro finding the back of the net in the 77th minute and Gagliardini adding further gloss to the scoreline three minutes before the end.
Salernitana 0-5 Inter (HT: 0-2)
Scorers: Perisic 11, Dumfries 33, Sanchez 51, Lautaro 77, Gagliardini 87.
SALERNITANA (5-3-1-1): 1 Fiorillo; 33 Delli Carri, 31 Gagliolo, 23 Gyomber (21 Zortea, 80), 26 Bogdan, 19 Ranieri ( 4 Jaroszynski, 71); 18 Coulibaly, 20 Kastanos (8 Schiavone, 61), 22 Obi; 7 Ribery (15 Gondo, 71); 25 Simy (11 Djuric, 61).
Subs not used: 72 Belec, 96 Guerrieri, 14 Di Tacchio, 24 Kechrida.
Coach: Stefano Colantuono.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio, 6 De Vrij, 95 Bastoni (32 Dimarco, 56); 2 Dumfries, 23 Barella (22 Vidal, 56), 77 Brozovic (5 Gagliardini, 71), 20 Calhanoglu, 14 Perisic (11 Kolarov, 78); 9 Dzeko, 7 Sanchez (10 Lautaro, 56).
Subs not used: 97 Radu, 8 Vecino, 12 Sensi, 13 Ranocchia, 37 Skriniar, 46 Zanotti, 48 Satriano.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
Booked: Barella, Gyomber, Calhanoglu.
Added time: 0+0 minutes.
Assistants: Colarossi, Cecconi.
Fourth official: Camplone.
Assistant VAR: Paganessi.