Defence won out over attack, as Inter secured the silver medal with a 2-0 victory in Bergamo, scoring two early goals and holding firm to stop Atalanta finding the net for the first time since September.
This was a head-to-head for second place, as only one point separated them, although a draw here and Lazio winning away to Napoli would let the Biancocelesti leapfrog both of them. Josip Ilicic and Jose Luis Palomino were unavailable, while the Nerazzurri missed Stefano Sensi and Matias Vecino, dropping Christian Eriksen again.
It took under two minutes to break the deadlock, as a corner was only grazed by Romelu Lukaku’s head to put Pierluigi Gollini off, so Danilo D’Ambrosio nodded in at the back post.
Gollini also landed awkwardly during that move and had to come off, replaced by Marco Sportiello. Atalanta fought back, but Duvan Zapata came sliding to meet a Mario Pasalic low cross, crashing into Samir Handanovic.
Inter doubled their lead in real style, as Ashley Young ran forward, saw no real options, so curled a stunning long-range right-foot effort into the far bottom corner. It had a wicked bend on it, as if it was remote-controlled to go around Sportiello’s fingertips.
Atalanta continued to pour forward, flinging crosses into the box, but Inter defended with vigour. A Robin Gosens cross found Mario Pasalic acrobatically volleying at the back post, but Young made the goal-line-clearance almost without realising it.
After pressuring Inter got long periods without finding a breakthrough, Atalanta threw on Luis Muriel and Ruslan Malinovskyi to shake things up.
Inter still should’ve killed off the game at the 76th minute when Diego Godin picked completely the wrong pass when Lukaku was waiting to turn in.
Alexis Sanchez thought he had scored on the counter when dribbling around Sportiello, but he was clearly offside.
Gosens came so close to opening it up again, managing to lift his finish over the on-rushing Handanovic, but it flashed across the face of goal and past the far post.
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