Joaquin Correa’s towering header and late strike secured a come-from-behind 3-1 victory for Inter Milan at Verona, as the Serie A champions were made to work for the win.
Verona went in front after 15 minutes when Samir Handanovic’s poor pass allowed Ivan Ilic to win the ball off Marcelo Brozovic and the Serb midfielder then casually dinked the ball over the Inter goalkeeper.
Just after half time, Inter were level when Edin Dzeko flicked on Ivan Perisic’s long throw for Lautaro Martinez to head home unmarked six yards out.
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Although Lorenzo Montipo made a couple of good saves, Inter hardly deserved to come out on top but they did thanks to the recent signing from Lazio who, nine minutes after coming on for Martinez, met Matteo Darmian’s right-wing cross to head back across the ‘keeper with aplomb.
It got better for Correa in injury-time, as he lashed home from the edge of the box to seal the three points.
Talking point – Romelu who?
For 83 minutes it looked like this game was a chastening warning about life beyond Antonio Conte and Romelu Lukaku.
It seemed a strange move when Simone Inzaghi chose to bring on Correa to replace Martinez when he was seeking a goal, but Conte’s replacement knew all about the qualities of the man he went back to former club Lazio to sign on loan for the season.
With a record of a goal every four-and-a-half games it would seem unlikely the Argentine striker can replace Lukaku’s output but his 16-minute cameo suggests otherwise.
In all likelihood it will take two men to replace the Serie A player of the year, but with Dzeko also putting in a decent, if less eye-catching performance, when not blessed with good service, it may be that Inter have the overall quality to win the Scudetto once more.
Man of the match – Ivan Ilic (Verona)
Sold to Manchester City at the age of 16, along with his older brother Luka – who is currently on-loan at FC Twente – Ilic joined Verona last year after, like his sibling, failing to start for City.
Against the stiffest midfield competition in Serie A, he showed himself to be more than worthy of playing at the top level and for much of the game outclassed Brozovic and Arturo Vidal.
He linked well with Mattia Zaccagni throughout and produced, with respect to Correa, the classiest moment of the match with his supremely cool finish.
He has had two caps for Serbia thus far and you would expect him to play a big part in their upcoming games against Luxembourg and Republic of Ireland.
Verona: Montipo 7; Gunter 6, Ceccherini 6, Magnani 7; Faraoni 6, Ilic 8*, Hongla 6, Lazovic 6; Cancellieri 7, Zaccagni 7; Barak 6.
Subs: Casale 6, Lasagna 6, Tameze 6, Sutalo 6, Dawidowicz 6.
Inter: Handanovic 5; Skriniar 6, De Vrij 6, Bastoni 6; Darmian 7, Barella 7, Brozovic 6, Calhanoglu 7, Perisic 7; Lautaro 6, Dzeko 7.
Subs: Vidal 6, Dimarco 6, Correa 9, Vecino 6, Sensi 6.
15′ GOAL FOR VERONA! And it comes through a wonderful finish from Ilic. Very sloppy in defence from Inter, as Handanovic’s pass asks too much of Brozovic and Ilic wins the challenge and then composes himself to dink it over the ‘keeper.
40′ GOAL DISALLOWED! That looked soft. Dzeko put in a cross to the far post and Perisic headed back across the area and Martinez challenged Montipo on the six-yard box leading to the ‘keeper letting it slip through his hands and into the net. Maybe it was a foul but you really want your goalkeeper to be stronger there. Lukaku checks you fair enough, Martinez less so…
47′ INTER ARE LEVEL! Just like that. A long throw from Perisic was flicked on by Dzeko and then Martinez all alone in the six-yard box heads home.
84′ GOAL FOR INTER! Joaquin Correa with a fine header from Darmian’s cross, sees Inter go in front and the debutant hit the scoresheet minutes after coming on.
90+4′ GOAL FOR INTER! One of the great debuts for Correa as he scores another. Given space 20 yards out from goal he makes room on his left foot and then slots it home with a low drive giving the keeper no chance.
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Source: Euro Sports