Two first half goals by Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez gave Inter a deserved 2-1 win over Sampdoria at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday night.
The hosts dominated for about 60 minutes and got their reward through the LuLa partnership, but after that awful start the Blucerchiati managed to fight back in the second half, as Morten Thorsby found the net thanks to a set piece.
That kept the Nerazzurri on their toes until the end, though Antonio Conte’s men held on to move six points behind Serie A leaders Juventus, and five behind Lazio.
Christian Eriksen had the ball in the back of the net with two minutes on the clock, but the goal was immediately ruled out as Antonio Candreva was offside when he received the ball down the right wing in the build up.
Pushed by Conte’s yelling in the background, the Nerazzurri didn’t stop and began to dominate possession, with their defensive trio tasked with building from the back in order to move their opponent’s line and open up spaces.
The Nerazzurri’s took the lead after 10 minutes thanks to that aggressive start. Lautaro picked up a Milan Skriniar long ball and produced a delightful back-heel pass for Lukaku, who combined brilliantly with Eriksen before easily slotting the ball home from close range.
While Sampdoria appeared powerless, Inter looked eager to double the lead and their second of the night came shortly after the half hour mark. Candreva made a smart run inside the box and received the ball from Lukaku – Lautaro was onside when he met the Italian’s cross to make it 2-0, scoring his first Serie A goal since January.
Antonio Conte had no reason to make changes during the interval and his players proved him right by almost scoring a third, but Lukaku failed to put the ball into an empty net, after Emil Audero had left the goal to challenge Eriksen.
Then without warning, Sampdoria suddenly pulled one goal back when Omar Colley headed the ball against the bar from a corner, only for Thorsby to quickly fire home the rebound.
The Nerazzurri’s play became less fluid as they looked increasingly tired, but the visitors couldn’t produce any dangerous chances.
It was Eriksen again who forced a save by Audero with his last shot of the match, as he was replaced by Borja Valero.
In the closing minutes the hosts opted for a more conservative style of play, which allowed them to easily control Sampdoria’s attacks and avoid any unnecessary risks.