Inter Milan’s resurgence under Antonio Conte continued as they put themselves back in the frame to quality for the Champions League knockouts with a deserved 2-0 win at home to Borussia Dortmund.
The hosts were happy to let the visitors hang onto possession early on but two bits of brilliance gave them the lead after 22 minutes. Stefan de Vrij strode confidently out of defence and his lofted pass was lasered brilliantly into the path of Lautaro Martinez who calmly controlled before steering through Roman Burki’s legs.
The early goal allowed Antonio Conte’s men to hold Dortmund at arm’s length for the majority of the match, although two stunning Samir Handanovic saves kept their lead intact.
Martinez was thwarted by Burki from the penalty spot after Mats Hummels had erred by bringing down Sebastiano Esposito, but the men in blue and black bookended an impressive display when Antonio Candreva finished off a counter-attack, as well as Dortmund, late on.
Here is how the Inter players rated:
Samir Handanovic 8: Sign of a stellar keeper is being brilliant after a period of inactivity. Quiet first half was broken by a stunning one-handed stop to deny Sancho low down. Save to deny Brandt’s deflected effort was just as good.
Stefan de Vrij 9: Ball over the top to Martinez was more befitting an elite midfield creator. Only player to have over 100 touches, each one of them confident or clinical.
Milan Skriniar 8: Constantly sharp and alert to snuff out Dortmund’s sniping attacks. Expertly dispossessed Sancho when breaking menacingly. Then got a toe to his goal bound effort.
Diego Godin 8: Champions League nights where calm and supreme focus is required are what he was born for. Passing accuracy of 97.3 per cent was sublime. A missing jigsaw piece.
Marcelo Brozovic 7: The creative hub in the Milan engine room. Delivered as many key passes (3) as his team-mates combined.
Antonio Candreva 8: Got through a mountain of work, tracking back to help defence and always an outlet on the right. One ball to Martinez was a peach, as was probing run into Dortmund territory. Had legs late on to join attack and finish the game.
Roberto Gagliardini 5: Put himself about in terms of the physical ability but contribution with the ball was lacking, a 66.7 per cent pass accuracy did not help his side out though.
Nicolo Barella 5: Busy throughout, both in terms of energy and gesticulating at the referee. Only one key pass, but his work was in snuffing out Dortmund attacks, four interceptions.
Kwadwo Asamoah 6: Not much offered in attack but diligent. Tackle on marauding Hakimi was timed brilliantly. Ran himself into the ground.
Lautaro Martinez 7: Timed run to perfection, controlled and finished clinically to put Inter ahead. Always looked likely to create something, thumped penalty at Burki rather than in a corner.
Romelu Lukaku 3: During his 61 minutes on the field he contributed a total of eight touches, five passes, no shots. Offside twice and dispossessed once.
Sebastiano Esposito 7: Replaced ineffective Lukaku, control to bring down lofted pass was sublime. Probing run forced a lunging challenge from Hummels.
Cristiano Biraghi N/A: Little time to make an impact, unlike Esposito.
Borja Valero N/A: Brought on to see out remaining seconds.
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