SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 18 - 21 Dec 2016 (19.45 UK)
Inter 3 - 0 Lazio
Banega 54 (I), Icardi 56, 65 (I)
Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

Lazio had the better of the first half, but fell to pieces after the break with Mauro Icardi’s brace and an Ever Banega missile.

The Aquile were sitting pretty in joint third place with Napoli and welcomed Marco Parolo back from his ban, but Stefan Radu pulled out in the warm-up, so was replaced by Patric. Senad Lulic was also chosen for a slightly more defensive front three. It was Stefano Pioli and Antonio Candreva’s first meeting with their former club. Joao Mario and Felipe Melo were suspended, with Gary Medel injured, so Pioli changed to a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Lazio beat Inter home and away last season, but above all were unbeaten here since a 4-1 drubbing in May 2014, coming away with a 2-2 draw and 2-1 victory.

It took just 30 seconds for the first Lazio chance, as Ciro Immobile’s shot was beaten away by Samir Handanovic and Danilo D’Ambrosio threw himself at the Senad Lulic follow-up from 10 yards.

Ivan Perisic failed to connect his head to a Mauro Icardi cross and nodded a Candreva assist over, but Lazio remained more dangerous as Handanovic was at full stretch for a one-handed save on Immobile’s low drive.

Felipe Anderson dribbled past four players as he cut in from the right to the far post, but D’Ambrosio was again decisive to charge down the finish. From the resulting corner, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic nodded over from six yards.

Marcelo Brozovic and Ever Banega efforts were straight at Federico Marchetti.

Inter came out fighting for the second half and Icardi almost scored when lying on the floor, flicking a low cross to forced the Stefan de Vrij block.

Moments later the hosts found the breakthrough, as Ever Banega won back possession from Milinkovic-Savic and unleashed a missile from 20 metres that flew into the near top corner. Marchetti got his fingertips to it, but the shot was simply too powerful.

Lazio fell apart, as within two minutes Inter had doubled their lead. D’Ambrosio continued his very impressive performance with a cross from the right that Icardi met with a glancing header from six yards at the near post.

Felipe Anderson was booked and will be suspended against Crotone, while Keita Balde Diao was introduced, moving Senad Lulic into defence. Icardi had penalty appeals for a Lucas Biglia tackle at the by-line, but Keita made an immediate impact, testing Handanovic at the base of the near stick.

However, Icardi completed his brace. Banega’s free kick was pulled back to the Argentine from the penalty spot and his low drive went in despite Marchetti getting a good hand to it.

Lazio also had a very strong penalty appeal, as D’Ambrosio seemed to elbow Parolo in the back of the head mid-air, but the referee waved play on again.

Icardi threatened a hat-trick when running on to Banega’s through ball, stinging Marchetti’s gloves at the near post, then he fired on to the upright after a Rodrigo Palacio knock-down.

Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa was given a run-out at San Siro for his third appearance of the season, having managed just 19 minutes since his €29.5m move from Santos. The San Siro crowd proudly applauded his every move, trying to build some confidence for the 20-year-old.

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Inter: Handanovic; D'Ambrosio, Murillo, Miranda, Ansaldi (Nagatomo 63); Brozovic, Kondogbia; Candreva (Gabriel Barbosa 85), Banega (Palacio 74), Perisic; Icardi
Lazio: Marchetti; Basta, De Vrij, Wallace, Patric (Keita 59); Parolo, Biglia (Cataldi 82), Milinkovic-Savic; Felipe Anderson, Immobile, Lulic (Lombardi 71)
Ref: Mazzoleni