Romelu Lukaku was at his best away to Udinese to drag a subpar Inter to a 2-0 victory on Sunday evening, taking them back to second place in Serie A.
A cagey first half was followed up by a much improved second, in which Lukaku took centre stage, scoring twice to deliver the points for the Nerazzurri.
Sebastiano Esposito forced a save out of Juan Musso inside a minute and suggested another busy day for the hosts’ backline after last week’s loss at Parma, but that initial and sudden burst wasn’t a sign of things to come from Inter.
Rodrigo De Paul looked to troubled stand-in goalkeeper Daniele Padelli before ten minutes were played, calling the former Torino goalkeeper into action with his own shot from range.
Christian Eriksen and Matias Vecino had their own respective attempts for Inter, but the Scudetto hopefuls really struggled to make their presence felt.
Antonio Conte’s side were fortunate not to go behind before the break and had it not been for Ashley Young they may well have.
Ken Sema did excellently on the left before crossing to Jens Stryger Larsen whose shot was goal-bound until the former Manchester United captain stretched out a leg to block the effort.
A huge chance fell Esposito’s way to start the second half. Young showed nice footwork to drift in from the left and curl a low strike that Musso parried.
Falling at the feet of the 17-year-old, the striker hurried his shot but his effort was scuffed, tame, and Musso could gather.
The lead eventually came through Romelu Lukaku. Nicolo Barella did well to prod a pass out right to the Belgian before being cleaned out.
Advantage was waved though and that allowed Lukaku to shift the ball onto his left foot and pass a low strike out of Musso’s reach.
Alexis Sanchez had a deflected attempt loop narrowly by the post and Lukaku had a shot from close range turned away by Musso.
The Chilean made a huge difference after his introduction and won a penalty shortly after, which Lukaku dispatched.
Udinese looked to cause some trouble of their own but it wasn’t to be and Padelli’s clean sheet was kept intact.