A first half goal from Xherdan Shaqiri was canceled out by Maximiliano Moralez’s strike just before the half hour mark, but goals in either half from Fredy Guarin and a fourth from Rodrigo Palacio gave the Nerazzurri their second win in a row.
The away side were gifted an early opportunity when Gianpaolo Bellini fouled Guarin in the box. Shaqiri sent his penalty kick into the path of Marco Sportiello, but the Atalanta shot-stopper couldn’t stop it from getting past him. The hosts tried to respond immediately, when Davide Zappacosta’s cross found Mauricio Pinilla in the box, but the Chilean couldn’t find the finish with the Inter goal wide open.
Despite the early advantage, Inter were the next to concede. A mix up in the box saw the ball land at the feet of Maximiliano Moralez, who steadied himself and fired the ball past Samir Handanovic on the half volley. Unfazed, Inter launched another assault on the Atalanta goal. They were soon rewarded for their approach when Guarin broke away from the Atalanta defenders and curled his shot into the bottom corner to restore the lead.
Atalanta enjoyed a late surge before half time, but went in a goal behind to Roberto Mancini’s side.
The second half started poorly for the Dea when Yohan Benalouane was sent off for two yellow cards in the space of 10 seconds. The defender hacked down Shaqiri before saying one word to many to the referee who double booked him to bring an end to his afternoon.
It didn’t take long for the away side to take advantage of their numerical advantage as Guarin was given space outside the box before curling his shot past the hapless Sportiello in goal in the 63rd minute.
Inter didn’t stop there, Shaqiri came close to swinging his shot past Sporteillo shortly after, but the 22 year-old keeper dived to his side to deny the former Bayern Munich man.
Sportiello was made to suffer further as Inter added a fourth. Rodrigo Palacio pounced on a poor back pass, and despite Guglielmo Stendardo’s attempts to prevent the Argentinian scoring, he only succeeded in directing the ball into the path of Palacio and into the back of the net. Guarin had one last chance to bag his hat-trick before the full time whistle, but his left-footed shot from distance sailed over the bar.
The result takes Roberto Mancini’s team above crosstown rivals AC Milan in the table, while Stefano Colantuono’s side are condemned to their 10th defeat of the season, with a chance of finding themselves just outside the relegation zone by the weeks end.
Follow Louis Gibberd-Thomas on Twitter: @mercutio156