Inter Milan 2-0 Hellas Verona: Nerazzurri pile pressure on Milan
Inter Milan moved within a point of Serie A leaders AC Milan with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Hellas Verona.
Aiming to win back-to-back league games for the first time this year following their Derby d'Italia defeat of Juventus, Inter were relentless in pressuring Verona in the first half.
Their superiority yielded the desired rewards as goals from Nicolo Barella and Edin Dzeko put them 2-0 up inside 30 minutes.
Simone Inzaghi's defending champions were never at risk of surrendering that advantage and could go top next week if Milan failed to respond in kind to his impressive performance.
Lorenzo Montipo was busy from the off, the Verona goalkeeper producing a strong save to deny Ivan Perisic, and his goal was soon breached by an excellent opener from Barella.
Barella steered Perisic's left-wing cross in off the bar with a superb effort with the outside of his boot.
Joaquin Correa was then thwarted by Montipo before Perisic flicked a corner into the path of Dzeko to tap in and make it 2-0.
Samir Handanovic prevented the deficit from being halved after Giovanni Simeone broke through on goal following a neat one-two with Gianluca Caprari.
Hakan Calhanoglu fired wide from long range and Danilo D'Ambrosio forced another fine save from Montipo before Dzeko blazed a header over, the final score arguably flattering Verona.
What does it mean? Inter avoid stumble in pulsating title race
Inter went second with a win that never looked in doubt, moving level with Napoli on 66 points and leapfrogging them due to their superior head-to-head record.
With Napoli hosting Fiorentina and Milan visiting Torino on Sunday, avoiding a slip-up after the derby triumph over Juve was critical, and Inter did so in style.
Inter make another fast start
Barella and Dzeko's goals took Inter to 31 first-half goals in as many Serie A games this season, more than any other team in the division.
Verona wait goes on
The visitors offered a meek display in keeping with their away record against Inter.
Verona have never won in 31 Serie A away games against Inter, the Nerazzurri tied with Juve as the opposition against whom the Gialloblu have played the most matches on their travels without winning.
Key Opta facts
- Inter are the team with the most clean sheets in Serie A this term – 14, including four in their past six league games.
- Dzeko has scored 98 goals in Serie A, only fewer than Immobile (149) since his Italian top-flight debut in 2015-16.
- Perisic has delivered 34 assists with Inter in Serie A, with only Maicon (42) and Dejan Stankovic (39) providing more for the Nerazzurri since Opta started collecting this data in 2004-05.
- Barella's goal was Inter's 100th against Verona in Serie A.
Inter travel to Spezia on Friday, while Verona face a trip to Atalanta three days later.