Inter came from behind to seal a 3-1 victory over Cagliari in Serie A on Sunday, but the result could have been far more comfortable were it not for Alessio Cragno in Gli Isolani’s goal.
After seeing a host of chances kept out by the goalkeeper, Inter went in at half time behind courtesy of Riccardo Sottil’s effort.
However, a second half fightback, inspired by Nicolo Barella’s wonderful volley, saw the Nerazzurri grab all three points as Danilo D’Ambrosio and Romelu Lukaku struck late on.
Cragno kept Cagliari in it
Fresh from their Champions League elimination, Inter arrived in Sardinia with a point to prove and wasted little time in asserting their dominance. Indeed, they could easily have had the match wrapped up in the opening 20 minutes, but for a string of wonderful saves from Cagliari goalkeeper Cragno.
The 26-year-old showed incredible reflexes to twice keep low Lukaku strikes out, before preventing a pinpoint Alexis Sanchez header with his feet.
Although he was caught out twice from corners in Inter’s opening goals, the former Brescia custodian continued to frustrate Inter in the second half and with eight saves in total, did not deserve to be on the losing side.
Inter rely on fightback to keep up the pace
Another Serie A match, another Inter fightback to avoid defeat. The Nerazzurri have made a habit, on the domestic stage at least, of failing to take their early chances and falling behind, only to rally and turn the match on its head.
In truth, Antonio Conte’s side did not deserve to find themselves trailing, but once Sottil gave Cagliari the lead shortly before the interval the Nerazzurri were bereft of creativity and ideas.
It took Barella’s excellent finish late on to spark them back into life but a rampant final quarter of an hour was enough to get the job done, just as they had previously fought back against Fiorentina, Parma, and Torino.
Indeed, only Manchester United have earned more points from losing positions than Inter’s 10 in any of Europe’s top five leagues this season. Whether this approach is sustainable in the long run remains to be seen, but victory in Sardinia keeps the Nerazzurri within touching distance of league leaders AC Milan after a traumatic week.