Stefano Sensi was inspirational as Inter conquered Radja Nainggolan’s Cagliari 2-1, the midfielder assisting Lautaro Martinez and earning Romelu Lukaku’s penalty.
The Sardinians transformed their line-up after Leonardo Pavoletti’s serious knee injury, with Alessio Cragno, Fabrizio Cacciatore and Paolo Faragò also out of action. Marko Rog returned from suspension after the 1-0 defeat to Brescia and Coach Rolando Maran moved to 3-5-2 with Radja Nainggolan facing his old club and ex-Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen making his debut. Stefan de Vrij was still injured, so Andrea Ranocchia again started in the same line-up as their 4-0 victory over Lecce.
Nainggolan made his intentions clear within 10 seconds, blasting over the bar from distance. There were no niceties on the other side either, as Marcelo Brozovic was booked for hacking down his former teammate.
There was controversy for the Inter goal to break the deadlock. At first, the offside flag had been raised when Lautaro Martinez and Alberto Cerri both went to nod a Stefano Sensi corner and it looped into the far top corner past helpless Olsen. However, after a long wait, the VAR check found Fabio Pisacane’s foot was keeping Lautaro level and the goal was given.
Cerri drilled inches wide on a Joao Pedro assist, as Cagliari did threaten. Cholito Simeone replaced Cerri for the second half, making his Sardinian debut.
The hosts were piling forward and Antonio Candreva was caught in possession, as Nahitan Nandez floated a cross for Joao Pedro’s header from six yards, surprising Danilo D’Ambrosio for the equaliser.
Stefano Sensi earned a free kick on the edge of the box and curled it on to the crossbar on the hour mark.
Sensi was on sparkling form and his delightful turn in the box forced Fabio Pisacane to bring him down. Romelu Lukaku converted past Olsen for his second goal in as many games.
It should’ve been three, but he turned wide with his weaker right foot on a Matteo Politano assist.
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