Inter ended their negative run of results with a 3-1 win, sending Sampdoria spiralling into the danger zone.
These two sides were both in crisis and desperately in need of a result. In six weeks Inter had gone from leaders to fourth place, while the Blucerchiati scraped just nine points from 13 rounds and hovered above the drop zone. Geoffrey Kondogbia, Gary Medel and Alex Telles sat out bans, while the visitors missed Carlos Carbonero, Modibo Diakite, Pedro Pereira and Jacopo Sala.
It was a trip down memory lane, as several players faced their former club – including Eder, Dodo and Andrea Ranocchia who moved in January – while Ronaldo and Jose Mourinho were in the stands.
Samp hadn’t won this fixture since a wild 4-3 result in December 1996, when current Coaches Vincenzo Montella and Roberto Mancini were on target.
The Blucerchiati surprisingly had the stronger start and two great scoring opportunities, as Samir Handanovic used his legs to parry Fabio Quagliarella’s low drive at the near post, then Ranocchia nodded the resulting corner over the bar.
Quagliarella flashed a dangerous strike across the face of goal, as did a Ricky Alvarez free kick with a double deflection.
Sampdoria dominated the game, but Inter opened the scoring. Jonathan Biabiany ran the entire length of the pitch after a Samp corner to earn a set play, from which Jeison Murillo flicked it on for unmarked Danilo D’Ambrosio to volley in with the inside of his left boot at the back post. Remarkably, he was the first Italian to score a Serie A goal for Inter since Ranocchia in December 2014.
Inter continued to play primarily on the counter, Biabiany getting both Ranocchia and Dodo booked with his extraordinary pace.
D’Ambrosio charged down a Joaquin Correa shot from the edge of the box with an outstretched hand, but the very strong penalty appeals were waved away. It was a very similar incident to the penalty Fiorentina weren’t awarded against Inter last week.
Brozovic was booked for a foul on Correa and will be suspended against Juventus in next week’s Derby d’Italia. After the restart Felipe Melo hit the woodwork from a corner, but only after the whistle had gone for a foul on his marker.
Sampdoria came so close to an equaliser, as Fernando’s free kick was nodded on by Dodo and Ranocchia just failed to get there as it skimmed the far post.
However, Inter again scored against the run of play from a corner. This time Felipe Melo flicked it on for Joao Miranda’s header at the back post and goal-line technology proved Emiliano Viviano’s save was too late to keep it out.
Quagliarella flashed his shot over from a tight angle, but Inter struck on the counter-attack. Icardi gathered from the centre-circle and sprinted away from defenders, placing a low snooker-shot in off the inside of the far post.
It seemed a harsh result on Sampdoria, who ended the game with more possession at San Siro and more shots on goal. They did at least get a consolation in stoppages, as Quagliarella smashed an angled drive in off the inside of the far post for his first goal in a Blucerchiati shirt.
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