Inter make light work of Spezia


Internazionale cruised to a 2-0 win over struggling Spezia at San Siro on Wednesday to go provisionally second in Serie A and stretch their unbeaten league run to seven matches.

Roberto Gagliardini finished off a well-worked team move to put the Nerazzurri ahead at halftime, and Lautaro Martinez’s penalty after the break secured the three points.

It could have been more, with Joaquin Correa hitting the bar and Inter spurning several more chances, as Spezia coach Thiago Motta had a night to forget against the club he won the Treble with as a player.

“We did what we needed to, which is to win at home,” Martinez told DAZN.

“But the pitch wasn’t in a good state. We struggled to play our game, we hope it improves. We are fighting for important things, the pitch must be at its best.”

Inter climbed to second place on 34 points, two clear of AC Milan in third and one behind leaders Napoli ahead of their games against Genoa and Sassuolo respectively later on Wednesday. Spezia are 17th with 11 points.

The two sides approached the game in contrasting form, with Inter winning seven matches during a nine-game unbeaten run in all competitions and relegation battlers Spezia losing three of their last four league outings.

An injury pile-up left Inzaghi with a makeshift defence of Danilo D’Ambrosio, Milan Skriniar and Federico Dimarco, but the champions were soon on top and took a deserved lead after 36 minutes when Gagliardini met a deft Martinez backheel flick to sweep home a finish.

Samir Handanovic showed great reactions to deny Kelvin Amian’s header with a one-handed save, but it was a rare Spezia chance and Inter fired 14 shots before the break, their highest tally in a first half in Serie A this season.

Inter didn’t let up as Correa rattled the underside of the bar before Martinez calmly dispatched his penalty in the 58th minute following a handball.

Hakan Calhanoglu had a shot well saved and Arturo Vidal’s finish was blocked by Ivan Provedel’s legs late on as the goalkeeper kept the scoreline respectable.

Junior Messias the hero again

Junior Messias scored a brace on his first AC Milan start as the Rossoneri thrashed Andriy Shevchenko’s Genoa 3-0 on Wednesday to close the gap to Serie A leaders Napoli to one point.

Milan came into the game looking for an improvement after back-to-back league losses to Fiorentina and Sassuolo, and they took control early on at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris when Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired home a 10th-minute free-kick.

“Today I did the best I could. These guys make me enjoy myself and make me feel young,” Ibrahimovic told Sky Italia.

“Unfortunately we lost the last two games but the season is still long. There are ups and downs over the year.”

Brazilian winger Messias, who scored the winner against Atletico Madrid on his Champions League debut last week, was named in Stefano Pioli’s starting line-up for the first time and marked the occasion in style by scoring either side of halftime.

Messias continues a remarkable career journey that has gone from delivering fridges to now becoming a star in Milan. The 30-year-old joined the Rossoneri from Crotone in the off-season. Messias moved to Italy from Brazil in 2011 and initially juggled amateur football with a job delivering fridges, before slowly climbing up the football ladder.

Shevchenko, who won the Champions League and Serie A with the Rossoneri as a player, is still waiting for his first win as Genoa coach after three matches in charge, and his side are 18th with 10 points.

Milan were under pressure to get a result after picking up one point from their last three Serie A games and seeing Inter Milan overtake them earlier in the evening by beating Spezia.

Things started badly for the Rossoneri when defender Simon Kjaer was forced off with injury, but soon improved when Ibrahimovic bent a free-kick around the wall for his sixth league goal of the season.

Messias pounced on a deflected shot to send a looping header beyond Salvatore Sirigu, but Genoa were denied a goal by a spectacular Mike Maignan save after the break, as the Frenchman sprang to his left to get a hand to a Caleb Ekuban header.


Brahim Diaz teed up Messias in the box for his second of the evening, a neatly placed finish into the bottom corner, but Maignan had to be alert again late on to tip over an audacious long-range Manolo Portanovo effort.


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