Matteo Politano and Ivan Perisic goals gave Inter a surprisingly hard-fought win over 10-man Chievo to recapture third place.
The Nerazzurri found themselves suddenly under a lot of pressure, as they needed a win to take back third place from Atalanta and keep the chasing pack behind them, as Milan, Roma, Lazio and Torino had already won this weekend. This result means Inter are one point clear of Atalanta, four ahead of Milan and Roma in joint fifth.
Danilo D’Ambrosio and Marcelo Brozovic were suspended, with Stefan de Vrij injured, so Cedric Soares and Borja Valero stepped in, while Mauro Icardi was preferred to Lautaro Martinez. Chievo were already relegated, but eager to make their mark at San Siro, even without suspended Assane Diousse.
Milan Skriniar only grazed his head to a set play, while Mattia Bani did well to intercept Ivan Perisic’s knock-down for Matias Vecino and Adrian Semper parried a Perisic angled drive at the near post with his legs.
Joao Miranda’s header from one of many corners was straight at Semper, but Borja Valero was caught in possession not far outside the penalty area, although Riccardo Meggiorini’s free kick went over.
Inter finally broke through when Perisic was tackled on the edge of the box, but the loose ball found Matteo Politano to drill left-footed in off the inside of the near post.
Emanuel Vignato’s right-foot curler from the edge of the area was just wide of the far post, but Semper needed a sensational double save to beat away first Politano’s right-foot strike from the edge of the area, then the Perisic follow-up.
During that move, Politano turned his left ankle and limped off. Kwadwo Asamoah needed a brilliantly-timed last-ditch tackle on Leris, but Perisic was unlucky not to make it 2-0 when his precise curler bounced off the far post into the arms of Semper.
Cedric’s rising strike was deflected over the bar and Roberto Gagliardini’s effort charged down by the ever-present Mattia Bani, but Chievo went down to 10 men for the final 15 minutes after Rigoni’s second bookable offence on Gagliardini.
Icardi nodded an Antonio Candreva cross over and was jeered off as he made way for Lautaro Martinez. The San Siro crowd, however, gave Sergio Pellissier a standing ovation for what will be his final appearance in this historic stadium.
Inter finally doubled their lead and put the points under lock and key. Candreva dribbled past a defender at the by-line, pulled back for Cedric Soares to thump the post from close range, then the rebound came to Perisic for 2-0.
Candreva was fired up and his daisy-cutter was deflected just wide of the far post from distance, while Semper flew to palm a Gagliardini rocket over.
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Sent off: Rigoni 76 (C)