Inter saw off opponents Udinese in a 4-0 demolition at the Dacia Arena in their Sunday morning Serie A fixture, keeping their Champions League hopes alive and adding to a torrid period for Udinese.
Inter were seeking a form of vengeance after defeat to the Zebrette earlier in the season saw their title challenge fall away from them, winning just one of their next eight fixtures following the defeat.
Andrea Ranocchia opened the scoring from a corner in the first half with Rafinha and Mauro Icardi adding to the scoreline before half time. The Zebrette saw Seko Fofana sent off after the restart for a dangerous challenge, with Borja Valero adding to their miseries
The visitors had the bulk of the early pressure, Danilo required to make a great clearance off the line to deny Ivan Perisic’s header. Udinese had conceded at least two goals in their last 12 matches in Serie A, a trend that looked likely to continue.
Defender Andrea Ranocchia, who was in the starting XI after Miranda picked up a knock in the build up, climbed highest to flick the ball past goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri.
The 40-year-old keeper was called into action once again when he raced off his line to deny Mauro Icardi, with Danilo required again to clear up with Bizzarri all at sea. The Nerazzurri were in again with Antonio Candreva, but the former Udinese man was caught in two minds and his effort sailed over the bar.
Udinese had their first clear chance after half an hour, the cross from Silvan Widmer was met by Valon Behrami in the box but couldn’t convert his compatriot’s cross. Shortly after Rodrigo De Paul fed the ball through to Kevin Lasagna, but was denied brilliantly by ex-Udinese shot stopper Samir Handanovic.
— FrSerieA Goals (@FrSerieAGoals) May 6, 2018
Despite their chances, Udinese were made to pay before half time. A counter attack lead by Icardi saw Rafinha break through the defence and beat Bizzarri at his near post to score. It was the Brazilian’s first goal for the club since arriving on loan in January from Barcelona.
Udinese 0-2 Inter (Rafinha) Scores his 1st goal for Inter pic.twitter.com/ngLhr0jxxB
— InterYaSkriniar (@InterYaSkriniar) May 6, 2018
The home side barely had time to respond when Marcelo Brozovic beat the defence with a fantastic long ball to Icardi, who blasted the ball past Bizzarri at his near post to make it four in his last four league appearances. The goal would also take Icardi to 28 for the season in Serie A as he continues to push for the capocannoniere crown.
Goal Icardi, Assist Brozovic. : pic.twitter.com/ddYYg596ab
— FN (@FansNerazzurri) May 6, 2018
The second half offered little in the way of reprieve for the hosts. A late challenge on Perisic saw Seko Fofana shown a straight red card. Udinese haven’t won at home since December 23, 2017 and a worsening to the scoreline put any chance of a turnaround beyond hope. A speculative ball into the box landed at the feet of Borja Valero, who dutifully poked it under Bizzarri to make it 0-4 to the dominant Nerazzurri.
Icardi looked determined to add to his 28 goals in Serie A, almost capitalising on a mistake from Danilo on the back. An opportunity presented itself for substitute Yann Karamoh, but the youngster crashed his effort against the bar.
The win would take Inter to within a point of fourth placed Lazio, who had yet to play their weekend fixture. It would also take them nine points clear of cross-town rivals AC Milan. Defeat for Udinese has seen them equal their longest winless run in Serie A of 14 games, with results elsewhere needing to be favourable to them as they seek to avoid the drop.