Benevento out-played Inter for long stretches at San Siro and had a strong penalty shout, but two headers gave the Nerazzurri a much-needed win.
Le Streghe were propping up the table and didn’t have a single point on their travels, but were more confident going into this game, fresh from beating Crotone 3-2. The Nerazzurri were anxious after their 2-0 defeat to Genoa and had only one win in over two months. Rafinha was given his first start since the January move from Barcelona, while Ivan Perisic returned, but Mauro Icardi and Joao Miranda were only fit for the bench.
Benevento easily started the more confident at San Siro, earning corners and repeatedly benefiting from terrible misplaced Inter passes, including one straight from kick-off. Within six minutes, the first jeers were beginning to rain down from the stands.
Antonio Candreva took down a long Matias Vecino ball over the top, but Berat Djimsiti performed a crucial tackle as he was pulling the trigger.
Roberto Gagliardini was fortunate to not even receive a yellow card for a studs-up tackle on Sandro.
Enrico Brignola had a dangerous counter-attack on an Inter corner, but was too hasty and his shot was charged down. A similar situation happened soon after, this time Coda cut inside Milan Skriniar and his snapshot stung Samir Handanovic’s gloves.
Sandro ran on to a smart Nicolas Viola through ball, but lost his balance under pressure from Handanovic. Inter struggled to create any danger at all and the first half has to go down as probably their worst performance of the season so far.
After the restart, Vecino hit a scorcher to sting Christian Puggioni’s gloves, but Coda sprung the offside trap on a Brignola through ball only to blast over the bar.
Benevento had a very strong penalty shout when substitute Danilo Cataldi ran into the box and went over Andrea Ranocchia’s leg, but the referee waved play on and VAR silent check also somewhat controversially ruled it was not a foul. On the counter, Eder turned over the bar.
Inter took the lead moments later, as Yann Karamoh earned a corner within seconds of coming on and the Cancelo kick was nodded on by Vecino for a Milan Skriniar diving header at the back post, giving the Nerazzurri a barely-deserved lead.
It was 2-0 soon after, as another Cancelo set play was curled across the face of goal for an Andrea Ranocchia diving header from eight yards, his first Serie A goal since December 2014.
Benevento were understandably shell-shocked and went down to 10 men for the final stages, as Viola received two yellow cards.
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Sent off: Viola 80 (B)