For the first time since 2014 Inter managed to beat Sassuolo at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, with the 2-1 victory hard-fought and also marked the Nerazzurri’s 10th consecutive win in Serie A.
The Biscione now sit 11 points above second-placed AC Milan, courtesy of goals from Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, who gave the hosts the lead before Junior Traore scored for the Neroverdi just a few minutes from time.
However, Inter had to rely to their defensive solidity to defeat a very brave outfit who, despite missing several key players, didn’t look scared to stay true to coach Roberto De Zerbi’s offensive style of play.
Handanovic 6: After very quiet first half he thought he secured another clean sheet but could do nothing to stop Traore’s curling shot.
Skriniar 6.5: Despite being under pressure most of the time, as Inter left possession to Sassuolo, he stayed sharp and managed to block several attacks in his own box, notably preventing Jeremie Boga from shooting in the visitors’ best chance of the first half.
De Vrij 6.5: Recovered from Covid and got his place back in the XI, providing the usual solidity that allowed the Nerazzurri to defend with confidence even with a very low line.
Darmian 6: Picked by Conte to replace Bastoni in a three-man defence, he made no mistakes and managed to stay focused for 90 minutes.
Hakimi 6.5: In a very tactical game, he looked worried by Boga but prevented him from combining with his teammates, rather than to producing his own usual devastating runs down the right flank. However, his attentive display should be considered as proof of maturity.
Gagliardini 5.5: Helped provide balance but brought little quality, one of the reasons why Inter often tried to play straight to their strikers in order to ease Sassuolo pressure.
Eriksen 6: Credit goes to Conte for turning him into a reliable deep-lying midfielder, a position which allows him to make the most of his vision and passing skills, while hiding the lack of dynamism which had held him back at first.
Barella 6.5: His tireless running was once again pivotal to his side’s defending, allowing him to pile pressure on every opponent in his area. A yellow card in the first half means he’ll be banned from next game against his former team Cagliari.
Young 6.5: As Inter opted to attack down the left flank more than usual, the Englishman provided quality and posed a constant threat to the Sassuolo defence, also gifting Romelu Lukaku with a nice assist.
Lautaro 6.5: After teeing up Inter’s first goal via a brilliant switch of play, he had to sacrifice himself most of the time but, after all his effort, he proved extremely clinical to slot home his side’s second goal.
Lukaku 6.5: Exploited the only chance he had in the first half, during which Sassuolo’s centre-back Marlon marked him, before setting up Lautaro with a brilliant pass.
Sensi 5.5: Replaced Eriksen mid-way through the second half but failed to provide the creative spark Conte was looking for.
Vecino 6: Came on for the final 20 minutes, during which his main task was to shield his defence during Sassuolo’s late assault.
Sanchez N/A: Late substitute.