Let’s check out the player ratings from the Serie A clash between Inter Milan and Cagliari over at the San Siro.
Matteo Darmian’s second-half goal was enough to grab Inter Milan an 11th consecutive league win on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being on different ends of the Serie A table, Inter and Cagliari thought alike. Both their managers deployed 3-5-2 formations for Sunday’s meeting at San Siro and were each without key men. A goalless first half followed in one which could’ve gone either way.
The major talking point was the performance of Serie A debutant Guglielmo Vicario. The 24-year-old, who replaced the COVID-19 infected Cagliari No.1 Alessio Cragno in goal, was fantastic. He made a key save from Christian Eriksen early on and later parried Matteo Darmian’s angled drive from the near post to keep the scoreline goalless.
Although Alexis Sanchez had the ball in the back of the net inside 17 minutes through a Romelu Lukaku assist. But the Chilean, who has scored just five goals this season, was deemed offside, prompting the referee to rule his strike out.
Cagliari, however, ensured the Inter defense were kept on their toes on the other end of the pitch. Radja Nainggolan, for one, made a fierce long-range attempt on goal, which forced goalkeeper Samir Handanovic into a save.
😭 | 57' – ANOTHER CHANCE!#Eriksen unleashes a powerful shot from outside the area but Vicario manages to tip it over the crossbar!#InterCagliari 0️⃣-0️⃣#FORZAINTER ⚫️🔵 pic.twitter.com/OBRXGNhWFj
— Inter (@Inter_en) April 11, 2021
Inter finally beat the brilliant Vicario
Neither side made changes for the second half, which began on a similar note to the previous one. Cagliari continued to frustrate Inter, with Vicario again pulling off more top saves to keep the visitors in the game from Sensi and Eriksen.
As the game grew deeper into the second period, however, Inter’s domination became more evident.
But while Conte’s men had the edge over Cagliari in terms of possession and opportunities, they couldn’t quite get the job done in the final third and called in the changes by bringing on the likes of Lautaro Martinez and Achraf Hakimi.
The latter ultimately made a decisive impact by combining with Lukaku for a one-two down the right flank before squaring the ball across for Matteo Darmian to score a 77th-minute winner.
Antonio Conte ran over to celebrate with his Inter players after Darmian's crucial goal 😅 pic.twitter.com/e8Ye3NEgAS
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 11, 2021
Cagliari tried to equalize with a string of last-gasp attempts, but Inter ultimately held on. The Nerazzurri weren’t at their clinical best, but the victory still extended their lead at the top of Serie A to 11 points from second-placed AC Milan.
A first league title since 2010 beckons ahead of the final eight games of the season.
Cagliari, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone and five points from safety in 18th-place. The visitors did well to keep Inter at bay, especially young Vicario, and arguably deserved a point for their effort. Nonetheless, the battle for survival continues with relegation rivals Parma up next on Saturday.
Inter, on the other hand, return to action next Sunday in a trip to Napoli.
Inter Milan: Handanovic (7); Skriniar (7), De Vrij (8), Bastoni (7); Darmian (8), Eriksen (7), Brozovic (6), Sensi (6), Young (6); Lukaku (6), Sanchez (6).
Bench: Hakimi (7), Gagliardini (6), Vecino (6), Martinez (6), D’Ambrosio (6).
Cagliari: Vicario (8); Rugani (6), Godin (7), Carboni (6); Zappa (6), Marin (6), Nainggolan (6), Duncan (6), Nandez (5); Pedro (7), Pavoletti (7).
Bench: Simeone (6), Asamoah (6), Pereiro (6), Cerri (6).
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