Inter could finally clinch the Scudetto this weekend, after a well earned 2-0 victory over Crotone at the Stadio Ezio Scida on Saturday evening left them with one hand on the trophy they last held aloft back in 2010.
However, it was a result that confirmed that Lo Squalo will play Serie B football next term, with a second half strike from substitute Christian Eriksen and a late Achraf Hakimi goal sealing the fate of the home side.
Nerazzurri eyes will now focus on Sassuolo entertaining Atalanta on Sunday afternoon, that, should La Dea not leave Reggio Emilia with all three points, will confirm the Milanese giants as the Serie A champions for the 2020/21 campaign.
With both sides no doubt wary of the impact the result could have on their immediate futures, there was a nervousness to the opening exchanges in Calabria, with neither side fashioning much in the way of goal scoring opportunities.
Midway through the first-half, though, Inter started to threaten, with Romelu Lukaku sending a glancing header against the post and shortly afterwards saw defender Koffi Djidji block a powerful drive 15 yards from goal.
However, the visitors continued to struggle in front of goal and it wasn’t until the 44th minute that they went close again – Lautaro Martinez controlling a dropping high ball well, but also hitting the upright with a low drive.
With the second period beginning much the same as the first, though, Crotone had clearly learnt from the 6-2 mauling they suffered at the hands of Inter in January and determined to give a greater account of themselves.
A triple substitution would ultimately deliver the breakthrough for the Nerazzurri, as Alexis Sanchez and Eriksen combined wonderfully with Lukaku, who laid the ball off for the Danish international to fire the visitors ahead on 69 minutes.
Inter thought they had another on 82 minutes, when Lukaku collected the ball inside his own half and drove towards goal, but VAR adjudged Ivan Perisic to have been a fraction offside before returning the ball back to the Belgian to sweep home.
However, with the hosts trying to find a late equaliser, the Nerazzurri broke from away after a poorly delivered free-kick and Hakimi was left to roll the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Alex Cordaz and into the net for a second.