SPAL 1 Inter 2: Icardi brace makes it six wins in a row for resurgent Nerazzurri

Mauro Icardi scored twice as Inter battled past SPAL to maintain their fine recent form.

Inter's Mauro Icardi celebrates his goal against SPAL on Sunday.   -  Getty Images

Inter made it six wins in a row in all competitions as a Mauro Icardi brace helped the side edge past SPAL 2-1 in Serie A on Sunday.

After a difficult start to the season – which saw it win just one of its opening four games – Luciano Spalletti has now led his side to four league wins on the spin, a run that has moved it up to third in the table.

Icardi set Inter on its way in the 14th minute, but the team was made to work hard for its victory by a spirited SPAL outfit, which missed a first-half penalty through Mirco Antenucci.

 

Alberto Paloschi looked to have secured a deserved point for the host after 72 minutes, but Icardi's cool finish 12 minutes from time maintained the Nerazzurri's recent revival.

Inter made its early superiority count in the 14th minute when Icardi's header looped over Alfred Gomis after taking a significant deflection off Johan Djourou's arm.

The host should have restored parity just four minutes later when referee Fabio Maresca awarded a spot kick for Miranda's clip on Felipe. Antenucci failed to take advantage, though, fizzing his penalty past Samir Handanovic's right-hand post.

Handanovic preserved his side's lead twice before the interval, pawing away Felipe's close-range effort and tipping over Mattia Valoti's powerful drive from distance.

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Andrea Petagna squandered a golden opportunity to pull his side level shortly after the hour mark, blazing over from just eight yards after an almighty goalmouth scramble, while Manuel Lazzari lashed over after a surging run into the area.

Substitute Paloschi turned home Mohamed Fares' cross from close range to pull the host level 18 minutes from time, but Icardi had the last say, sending a curled effort into Gomis' far left corner to seal all three points. 

What it means: Spalletti's men march on

The serious questions being asked of Spalletti at the start of the campaign are a distant memory now. The Nerazzurri are in fine form and will just hope that the international break does not spoil their momentum. SPAL, meanwhile, has now lost four in a row and will take scant consolation from running its more illustrious opponent so close.

Icardi strikes vital blow

There was more than a touch of fortune about his first, but last season's joint-top Serie A scorer showed exactly why he is his side's talisman with a wonderful finish past Gomis for the game's decisive goal.

Antenucci's miss proves costly

It could have all been so different for SPAL had its captain not fizzed his penalty past the post so soon after Icardi's opener. Antenucci has scored just once this season and it is not hard to see why after such a poor spot-kick.

What's next?

After the international break Inter faces a mouth-watering derby against AC Milan, while SPAL will make a daunting trip to the capital to face Roma.

Key Opta stats:

- Mauro Icardi (103 goals) has equalled Christian Vieri as the seventh player with the most Serie A goals scored with Inter.
- Inter has won four Serie A games in a row for the first time since September 2017.
- Inter has scored the most goals (six) in the last 15 minutes this season.
- Sime Vrsaljko has provided an assist in Serie A for the first time since March 2016 (Sassuolo v AC Milan).
- Mirco Antenucci has failed tonight his first penalty in Serie A, he had scored all his previous six.


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