Inter Milan’s perfect start to the Serie A season continued with a 1-0 win at Empoli on Sunday but the Nerazzurri found it harder than they perhaps expected against a side that has yet to register a point or score a goal after five matches.
It needed a special strike from Federico Dimarco in the second half to break down Empoli’s resolute defence, which had conceded 12 goals in its previous four matches.
More than half of those came in last weekend’s 7-0 defeat at Roma, which led to the dismissal of coach Paolo Zanetti and the hiring of Aurelio Andreazzoli for his third spell at the club.
Inter has now won all five of its Serie A matches, conceding just one goal, and moved three points ahead of second-place AC Milan.
Defending champion Napoli can move to within five points of Inter with a win at Bologna later. Roma, Atalanta and Fiorentina were also playing later.
Inter travelled to Empoli full of confidence after last weekend’s 5-1 thrashing of Milan in the city derby. It also drew 1-1 at Real Sociedad in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.
The Nerazzurri piled on the pressure from the start and had two good opportunities in the opening two minutes, while a Matteo Darmian header had to be headed off the line by Empoli defender Ardian Ismajli in the 10th minute.
Inter thought it had broken the deadlock in the 35th, but Marcus Thuram’s goal was ruled out for offside.
The visitors did finally make the breakthrough six minutes into the second half. An Inter corner was headed out but only as far as Dimarco on the edge of the area, and he unleashed a precise shot on the half-volley into the top far corner.
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