Frosinone 1 Inter 3: Nainggolan, Perisic and Vecino cement top-four berth

Radja Nainggolan, Ivan Perisic and Matias Vecino helped Inter to a 3-1 win at Frosinone on Sunday to strengthen its top-four hopes.

Radja Nainggolan celebrates his goal at Frosinone   -  Getty Images

Inter held off Frosinone's second-half fightback to strengthen its position inside Serie A's top four thanks to Sunday's 3-1 win at Stadio Benito Stirpe.

Goals from Radja Nainggolan and Ivan Perisic before the interval appeared to put Luciano Spalletti's side on course for a routine victory over its relegation-threatened host, which remains eight points from safety.

But Francesco Cassata halved the deficit just past the hour with an effort that Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic ought to have repelled.

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That strike breathed fresh life into the contest as the Nerazzurri were forced to hold on somewhat grimly for the remainder, ultimately securing a success that cements their place in third thanks to Matias Vecino's injury-time goal.

The side now sits six points clear of fifth-place Roma, which visits San Siro next weekend.

Frosinone came into the game in possession of the division's worst home record and found itself behind inside 20 minutes as Danilo D'Ambrosio crossed from the right and Nainggolan steered the ball into the bottom-left corner.

Luca Paganini ought to have done better than guide a free header over from eight yards as the host sought a swift response and it was masters of its own downfall in going two behind before the break.

Raman Chibsah inexplicably bear-hugged Milan Skriniar to the floor at a corner and Perisic calmly converted the spot-kick, sending Marco Sportiello the wrong way.

Sportiello saved impressively from Matteo Politano one-on-one as Inter threatened to put the game completely to bed and that stop took on added importance as Cassata's effort from the edge of the box squirmed under Handanovic's right arm.

Camillo Ciano whipped a free-kick narrowly wide and Lorenzo Ariaudo headed straight at Handanovic as Frosinone harnessed its momentum, only for any hopes of salvaging a point to be decisively quashed by Vecino's well-worked goal.

 

What does it mean? Inter well set for Champions League return

Having been eliminated at the group stage in December following a seven-year absence, Inter look in good shape to be dining at European club football's top table again in 2019-20.

 

Nainggolan arrives right on time

Not necessarily best known for his goalscoring prowess, the Belgian midfielder timed his run into the box perfectly to meet D'Ambrosio's delivery, providing Inter the platform to prosper.

 

Chibsah's cheap foul proves costly

There was no need for Chibsah to take such an aggressive hold of Skriniar, and the two-goal deficit established by Perisic's penalty proved too great for Frosinone to overturn.

 

Key Opta facts

- Inter has won each of its four Serie A meetings against Frosinone with an aggregate score of 11-1.
- Francesco Cassata scored the first Frosinone goal against Inter in Serie A.
- Radja Nainggolan has scored two of his four Serie A goals with Inter with a header - none of his 35 goals scored with AS Roma in the competition came with a header.
- All the last five Ivan Perisic Serie A goals have come in away games.

What's next?

Inter faces a huge home fixture with fellow top-four hopefuls Roma on Saturday, while Frosinone's fight to stave off relegation continues at Cagliari.