Dimarco's stunner gives Inter win over Empoli
Team— Sep 24th 2023
Fifth consecutive league win for the Nerazzurri: the number 32's goal enough to take home the three points. Arnautovic injured at the end
From wins from five. It has been a perfect start to the league campaign for Inter, following their victory away to Empoli thanks Dimarco's stunning goal from outside the area. Simone Inzaghi's side dominated the game, creating a flurry of chances and risking very little at the other end. There was another clean sheet for Sommer, his fourth so far this season. The only downside to come out of the game in Tuscany was Marko Arnautovic pulling up with a muscle issue in the closing stages, forcing him off just before stoppage-time (an injury to the left hamstring, which will be assessed in the coming days), and leaving Inter to close out the game and defend Empoli's final onslaught with ten men. The Tuscans still remain without a point or a goal this season.
Dimarco's left-footed piece of magic was an unbelievable strike; hit on the half-volley from outside the area and flying into the top right-hand corner of the goal; it was worth of winning any game. Such a finish was needed to get past a determined Empoli, led by Andreazzoli in his first game in charge this season. The start to the game was predictable: Inter pushing forward, domintaing play, aggressive and focused on taking home three important points. Mkhitaryan and Calhanoglu were close to scoring early on, with Thuram dragging defenders left, right and centre in creating spaces for the midfielders to attack.
In the first half, Bastoni was in the thick of the action, joining high up on the left-hand side, and at times even finding himself in the trequartista zone centrally. It was a sign of the will to get as many men forward and take control of the game. From his cross, Darmian rose highest to head on target, but the Empoli defence got back in time and cleared off the line. On the whole, the left-hand flank linked up well and also brought about Thuram's disallowed goal, for offside. Empoli defended deep and then tried to press higher up the pitch for the second part of the first half. They stayed in the game thanks to Berisha on several occasions, and saved well with his feet to keep out Frattesi.
Despite the goal not coming, there were few concerns at the other end with Inter precise and alert at the back, with Pavard, following his debut in the Champions League, making a first start in Serie in impeccable fashion. Mkhitaryan was the one who pounced on Empoli's errors, Dimarco the player who triggered the Nerazzurri supporters delirium with a left-foot masterpiece, on a pitch that has already seen a left-foot special in the past by Alvaro Recoba.
Inzaghi's side immediately looked for a second, but it didn't materialise. The game went scrappy and the subs provided a different dimension. Sommer did excellent to make a flying save from Ranocchia's free-kick, which was the call for a tense and final closing stages. Thuram came ever so close to replicating the goal he scored in the derby, but it was Empoli who pushed forward looking for the equaliser, with Carlos Augusto blocking Baldanzi's attempt superbly.
When Inter went down to ten for Arnautovic's injury, Inzaghi called for one last effort. The fifth straight league win in the opening five games eventually came, to the relief of everyone. This is the third time in Nerazzurri history that we have started a league campaign like this (2019/20, 2015/16 and 1966/67).
EMPOLI 0-1 INTER | TABELLINO
Scorers: 51' Dimarco (I)
EMPOLI (4-3-1-2): 99 Berisha; 24 Ebuehi, 34 Ismajli (4 Walukiewicz 51'), 33 Luperto, 3 Pezzella; 18 Marin (21 Fazzini 69'), 22 Ranocchia (5 Grassi 69'), 29 Maleh; 35 Baldanzi; 7 Shpendi (23 Destro 79'), 28 Cambiaghi (20 Cancellieri 79'). Subs: 1 Perisan, 40 Stubljar, 8 Kovalenko, 11 Gyasi, 13 Cacace, 14 Guarino, 19 Bereszynski, 30 S. Bastoni. Head Coach: Aurelio Andreazzoli.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Sommer; 28 Pavard, 15 Acerbi, 95 A. Bastoni (6 De Vrij 71'); 36 Darmian, 16 Frattesi (23 Barella 71'), 20 Calhanoglu, 22 Mkhitaryan, 32 Dimarco (30 Carlos Augusto 82'); 9 Thuram (70 Sanchez 82'), 10 Lautaro (8 Arnautovic 71'). Subs: 12 Di Gennaro, 77 Audero, 2 Dumfries, 14 Klaassen, 21 Asllani, 31 Bisseck, 42 Agoume, 50 Stankovic. Head Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
Bookings: Acerbi (I), Pezzella (E), Maleh (E), Bastoni (I) Stoppage-time: 0', 5'
Referee: Marcenaro. Assistants: Colarossi, Cipressa. Fourth official: Fourneau. VAR: Valeri. Assistant VAR: Gariglio.