Inter 2-0 Chievo: Nerazzurri a step away from Champions League qualification

Matteo Politano's first-half strike and a late effort from Ivan Perisic saw Inter move into third place in Serie A after beating Chievo 2-0.

Matteo Politano celebrates his goal against Chievo.   -  Getty Images

Inter Milan ended a three-match winless run to take a big step towards Champions League qualification with a 2-0 win over Chievo in Serie A.

Already-relegated Chievo had not beaten Inter at San Siro in 15 attempts heading into Monday's encounter, and it never looked likely to end that streak once Matteo Politano scored in the 39th minute.

Politano's effort was just reward for a dominant performance from Luciano Spalletti's side, though its fans were frustrated by wasteful finishing from Ivan Perisic and some fine saves from Adrian Semper. Chievo's slim hopes of a comeback were ended after Nicola Rigoni saw red late on, though, and Perisic made sure of the victory with four minutes to go as Inter moved back above Atalanta into third place.

Inter had no problem in asserting its authority, with both Perisic and Milan Skriniar passing up presentable chances in the opening stages. Perisic went close again in the 28th minute – his shot from a tight angle well saved by Semper.

But Inter's siege on Chievo's goal finally paid off six minutes before half-time when Politano sent a precise finish in off the inside of the right-hand post.

Emanuel Vignato almost restored parity after the restart, though Chievo would have been further behind had Semper not pulled off a fine save to deny Politano a second before reacting sharply to keep out Perisic's follow-up try.

Semper was beaten after the hour, but Perisic's low strike clipped off the upright and fell kindly for the keeper.

Rigoni's rash challenge on Roberto Gagliardini saw him receive a second yellow card soon after and Inter made its numerical advantage count when Perisic finally found the net after Cedric Soares had hit the woodwork.

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Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic (C) vies for the ball with Chievo's Nicola Rigoni (L) and Fabio Depaoli during their Serie A clash.   -  AFP

 

What does it mean? Inter closing in on Champions League qualification

Two games remain of the Serie A season and, as it stands, Inter is in pole position to secure a place in Europe's elite club competition. The Nerazzurri sit third, one point above Atalanta and four better off than their city rivals AC Milan. One more win would be enough to guarantee a top-four finish.

READ | Fiorentina 0 AC Milan 1: Calhanoglu keeps up pressure in top-four race

Politano makes up for Perisic's profligacy

It would be harsh to say Perisic had a poor game, given he was involved in most of Inter's play but, until his late finish, the Croatia winger lacked his usual composure in front of goal.

Fortunately, his opposite winger Politano had no such issue, and he had already set Inter well on its way to a win when Perisic finally found his shooting boots.

Icardi a shadow of his former self

Inter striker Mauro Icardi has scored just once in Serie A since returning to the first-team fold, and he was largely anonymous on Monday against a defence that has conceded over 70 goals this season. Icardi then received a mixed reaction from the San Siro faithful when he was taken off in the 79th minute.

Given his form, perhaps Icardi's loss – if indeed he is to leave in the close season – would not be such a blow to Inter after all.

What's next?

Inter faces a tough trip to Napoli in its penultimate Serie A outing, while Chievo faces Sampdoria. Both of those fixtures take place on Sunday.

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