The year 2022 has kicked off in style as Inter defeated Lazio 2-1 at home. An important victory as Bastoni starred with a goal and an assist.
A performance which was very positive, as Inter were unlucky not to win by more. Some questionable decisions overcome, as Inter were the deserved victors.
Let’s look further into the match itself.
Man of the Match –
Finally, we get an easy one which everyone can agree on. Alessandro Bastoni was sensational tonight and as close to a 10 out of 10 performance that you’ll see.
The defender has gone from strength to strength under Inzaghi, and the attacking facet of his game is really becoming a standout. There are very few central defenders who have the ability with their feet which Alessandro possesses.
The opening goal of the match was one to admire. A heading Lazio clearance from an Inter corner fell to the feet of Bastoni well outside the box where he took a lovely first touch to his left.
With a short run-up, Bastoni decided to smash the ball low and hard through lots of traffic in front of goal. It was the perfect strike with the Lazio keeper seeing the ball late, as the shot skidded off the turf into the back of the net.
This put Inter ahead 1-0, and also brought up the half century for the season as goal number 50 was scored. Bastoni also became Inter’s 16th different scorer for the season so far. An incredible statistic considering we are only at the halfway point.
In the second half, Bastoni would again have a massive impact on the game. This time, he would turn provider for his buddy in defence Skriniar. A lovely swinging ball into the area from Bastoni where Skriniar made no mistake. The score now 2-1 with Inter in the driving seat.
Special mentions –
There were two players today who did their jobs fantastically and deserve a shout-out.
Firstly, Alexis Sanchez played a great game today and would’ve been close to Inter’s second best performer. In a match where Hakan was missing, it’s comforting to know we have Sanchez in these scenarios.
The movement and vision from Sanchez had the crowd in awe at one point as Sanchez spun with the ball beating several defenders in the midfield. It almost looked like the ball was glued to his boot. A nice pass out to the wing setup a fantastic attacking raid for Inter.
Also, he should’ve had an assist today if not for the dubious ruling of offside for Lautaro’s goal.
Secondly, Robert Gagliardini deserves some credit for his performance today. To man mark someone as creative and destructive as Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (SMS) must be a tough task.
All week, Inzaghi must’ve been in Gagliardini’s ear to study up and learn what you can about the man they call SMS. For the duration of the match, Gagliardini had SMS in his pocket as there was no time and space for SMS to create any good chances.
Gagliardini did his job and that’s all we needed him to do today. With the absence of Hakan, it was smart by Inzaghi to put an opposing figure in our midfield such as Gagliardini who was there whenever a cutout or tackle was needing to be made.
This guy has copped a lot of abuse from Inter fans for a while, but Gagliardini is what every great squad requires. The type of player who won’t set the world on fire, but they’ll do their job so others can shine.
I’m sure that for Inzaghi, this fixture would’ve been personal. Especially since Inter’s only defeat in the league came against Lazio earlier in the season. As the former coach of the Lazio, he must have a soft spot for them but like any coach he moves on and wants to get the win with the new team.
Inzaghi did exactly that by playing to Inter’s strengths today. Both Dumfries and Perisic were great on their wings and almost each had a goal. If not for some phenomenal defending on the line from the Lazio defence.
In regards to possession and shots, this Inter team dominated. Managing 61% possession and three times as many shots as their opponents, it was a classy performance.
The ball movement was slick, and the movement on the pitch was a sight to see. Considering this Inter team hadn’t played in almost 20 days, you could see the energy levels were full.
There was zero complacency and the hunger to win was definitely there. As we know, there is still almost half of the season to go but I’m confident we are winning the Scudetto.
I’m happy with where we are and I think we’re ready for the tough fixtures over the next few weeks. This will really test Inter and tell us if we have what it takes!
Where to next?
There aren’t many tougher fixtures in Italian football than Juventus in a final. It’s the SuperCoppa Italiana, where Inter will host Juventus at San Siro.
Juventus does have a superior head to head record over Inter, and they’ll look to flex their muscles again. I think this is where the tide turns and Inter dominance starts occurring for the next few years.
This is a marvelous opportunity for Inter to show Italy who the kings of this country are. It would also be great to see Inzaghi get his first trophy with Inter, as I’m sure there’ll be many more to come.
Prediction – Inter 3-1
As always, Forza Inter!