Romelu Lukaku’s brace in a six-minute spell, including a penalty won by Alexis Sanchez, allowed a new-look Inter to conquer Udinese.
The Nerazzurri were under pressure after three consecutive 1-1 Serie A stalemates, with Lautaro Martinez suspended, Stefano Sensi, Roberto Gagliardini and Marcelo Brozovic not fully fit, but above all Samir Handanovic ruled out by an injured finger, so Daniele Padelli had his first Serie A start since August 2016. Christian Eriksen and Victor Moses made their Serie A debuts, with Ashley Young making a good impression since his move from Manchester United. Udinese only missed Samir, as Bram Nuytinck passed a fitness test.
With Lautaro Martinez suspended, 17-year-old Sebastiano Esposito was given the nod and his shot was palmed away for a corner within 28 seconds. Juan Musso also got behind an Eriksen snapshot, while Padelli fingertipped the Rodrigo De Paul scorcher over the bar.
Seko Fofana hit the side-netting and Matias Vecino didn’t make the most of a good Moses run, while Padelli was a little shaky when saving a Fofana effort with his wrist.
Ashley Young made a decisive block on Jens Stryger-Larsen’s volley at the back post after Padelli had flapped at the Ken Sema cross.
Alessandro Bastoni was also decisive to charge down a De Paul effort.
The second half started with a catalogue of errors, including Sema slipping over to pass it straight to Esposito, but the teenager just scuffed the gift right back into the arms of Musso.
Alessandro Bastoni was booked for tripping Okaka on the counter, so he’ll be suspended for the Derby della Madonnina with Milan.
Okaka had penalty appeals rejected for a Milan Skriniar shirt-tug, then De Paul slipped at the crucial moment when set up by Sema.
Alexis Sanchez came off the bench against his old club and threatened an opener within moments, but hesitated and the finish was deflected into the arms of Musso.
Instead, Romelu Lukaku broke the deadlock. Nicolò Barella managed to get the assist under pressure and Lukaku used Nuytinck as a shield, poking the finish through his legs so Musso couldn’t see the ball until it was too late. That was the Belgian’s 11th goal in his first 11 Serie A away fixtures.
There was a flurry of opportunities for Inter, as a Sanchez cross-shot was deflected on to the upright, then Lukaku tested Musso from close range and Vecino volleyed the rebound wide.
Alexis Sanchez made the most of a lucky ricochet off Rodrigo Becao to sprint into the box, where he was wiped out in no uncertain terms by Musso for a penalty. Lukaku kept his cool to convert, passing it into the near bottom corner.
Lasagna caught Milan Skriniar napping only to get the finish wrong, then volleyed another opportunity just wide. Padelli just about managed to smother a deflected Marvin Zeegelaar cross under pressure.
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