Inter vs Lazio 2-1: Center-Backs Inspire Victory in Heated Match

Inter’s center-backs inspired victory in dramatic fashion, beating an improved Lazio side 2-1.

Though their last match was suspended due to Covid-19, Simone Inzaghi still chose to rest two key starters. The manager left Hakan Calhanoglu and Edin Dzeko on the bench, replacing the pair with Roberto Gagliardini and Alexis Sanchez. The rest of Inter’s 5-3-2 consisted of the normal starting eleven, with Lautaro Martinez leading the charge from up front.

Lazio needed to rebound from its 3-3 draw with Empoli. The Biancocelesti ran out Maurizio Sarri’s typical 4-3-3, with Felipe Anderson and Pedro flanking striker Ciro Immobile. Notably, star centre-back Francesco Acerbi missed the match with a hamstring injury.

Marcelo Brozovic created an early chance for Inter when he dispossessed Danilo Cataldi in the defensive third. He sent the ball to Martinez in space, but Luiz Felipe, who was in top form, made a crunching tackle on the forward, preventing the shot.

Later, it was Ivan Perisic who nearly scored. Nicolo Barella swung in a fine cross to the wing-back, but the Croatian could not put his header below the crossbar.

Martinez seemingly broke the deadlock, with Lazio’s backline showing worrying signs. Sanchez played a pinpoint through-ball to the Argentine, and he used his pace to beat his two markers. However, VAR overturned the goal for offsides, and the score remained level.

Finally, Alessandro Bastoni scored the opener with a fabulous strike. The ball bounced to the defender outside the box on a corner, and he ripped a long-range strike that found the bottom corner of the net.

Lazio quickly responded, scoring a sudden goal on their first shot just minutes later. After a dropped ball, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic played Immobile behind the backline. Milan Skriniar appeared not to realize the striker was there, letting him take an unchallenged path to the ball, and the Italian international easily bagged his first of the day.

The second half began with Lazio frantically pressing the hosts. Sarri’s side desperately needed possession and looked to win the ball in dangerous areas of the pitch. However, Inter was able to weather the high block via quick passing and nonstop rotation.

Needing a spark, Sarri removed Anderson from the match with 30 minutes remaining. The Brazilian largely failed to influence the match, and the dynamic Mattia Zaccagni was brought onto the left wing.

After a long period of possession, Inter retook the lead. Bastoni again influenced the attack, whipping in a cross that found the head of Skriniar. The centre-back headed it bar-down, and the Nerazzurri went up 2-1.

Lazio again responded quickly, nearly equalizing seconds later. Pedro, unmarked at the back-post, got his head on a cross, but he sent the ball wide of the net.

Inzaghi introduced Dzeko and Joaquin Correa late in the match, giving Sanchez and Martinez an early exit. The fresh legs allowed the hosts to easily retain possession, and Inter cruised the rest of the way to victory.