Inter Milan 1-0 Torino: Brozovic spares Nerazzurri blushes
A last-gasp volley from Marcelo Brozovic spared Inter Milan's blushes as they overcame Romelu Lukaku's absence to snatch a late 1-0 win against Torino in Milan.
The Croatian latched onto Nicolo Barella's lob into the box in the 89th minute to steer the ball just beyond Vanja Milinkovic-Savic and spark wild celebrations.
Inter, still without the injured Lukaku following his absence for their midweek Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, had looked lacklustre throughout, without a cutting edge.
But Simone Inzaghi will still take this victory with all the jubilation it was greeted with, while Ivan Juric will be left to rue what could have been for his stubborn visitors.
Despite a rowdy atmosphere, an air of caution seemed to pervade both teams at first, with more ball and more shots for Inter despite a lack of a threatening aura.
Lautaro Martinez's gifts were oddly blunted in front of goal for the Nerazzurri, while Nikola Vlasic forced the only truly noticeable save of the first half, in the 20th minute, to keep the visitors nipping at their heels.
There was more urgency to proceedings after the interval, but even then, golden chances were few and far between for both teams.
But when Brozovic beat the offside trap to rise in the box and nudge a mid-air volley just around the goalkeeper's scrambling arms six yards out, the roar that erupted around the San Siro was deafening to behold.
For Inter, so toothless throughout elsewhere, it was dramatic salvation to get them back to winning ways - but they will still know such a rescue package won't come around every week.
What does it mean? Inter dodge drab draw
Victory moves the Nerazzurri up to third in the Serie A table, very much keeping them in the midst of early title discussions - but Brozovic's late finish nevertheless masked a deeper concern.
Granted, while their last two foes have been Milan and Bayern, anything but a win would have sent them three games without victory - hardly the stuff of potential champions.
A lacklustre performance overall has hardly erased all discontent from those back-to-back defeats and better showings will be demanded in the coming weeks.
Lukaku's absence sorely felt
With just three shots on target all match, it was hardly a game for premiums - and the absence of Lukaku was felt by the hosts.
There has just been one league goal and one assist for the Belgian since his return to the club, but his ability to bulldoze play through power was missed next to the smaller Martinez.
Torino mull tough day
With seven shots on target - twice as many as their hosts - it may well have just been one of those days for the Turin outfit.
That will be of scant comfort though, particularly for Vlasic, whose four shots and three key passes made him a busy presence all game long.
Key Opta Facts
- Inter have won the last four home games against Torino in Serie A; the Nerazzurri had not won at least four home wins in a row against Torino in the league since between 1969 and 1976 (seven wins).
- Marcelo Brozovic is the only midfielder to score at least two goals in each of the last eight Serie A seasons.
- Inter have won their last seven home games in Serie A, the longest run since between October 2021 and January 2022 (also seven).
- Torino have lost the last two away matches in Serie A after being unbeaten in the previous seven (5W, 2D).
Inter head straight back to Europe, making the trip to Viktoria Plzen on September 13. Torino resume Serie A action next weekend on September 17, at home to Sassuolo.