Inter’s slim hopes of Champions League qualification were boosted as they came from behind to beat Udinese 3-1 at San Siro.
Cyril Thereau put Udinese into a shock early lead with his first touch of the game, volleying home a pinpoint lofted through-ball from Emmanuel Badu.
But Inter equalised before half-time, with Stevan Jovetic finishing off Mauro Icardi’s pullback for a simple goal.
Jovetic got his second of the game 15 minutes from time, chesting in a terrific cross by Jonathan Biabiany, before Eder added a third deep in injury time in a game notable for it being the first in Serie A history to begin without any Italian players in either starting line-up.
It was Inter’s first victory at home against Udinese in Serie A since September 2010 and Roberto Mancini’s side close the gap to third-placed Roma to four points before Luciano Spalletti’s team host second-placed Napoli on Monday.
Udinese took a surprise lead after nine minutes. Badu’s ball over the top was superb and Thereau beat Samir Handanovic with a sweet volley from 14 yards.
Orestis Karnezis made a good save from a drive from Geoffrey Kondogbia, back for Inter after suspension, before Marcelo Brozovic had a fine chance but his shot was blocked.
Inter did equalise in the 36th minute, with Jovetic scoring his first Serie A goal since the reverse fixture in December.
Icardi did well to roll the defender and his low cross, which may have been intended as a shot, was tapped home by Jovetic.
Edenilson forced a fine save from Handanovic shortly after half-time and Silvan Widmer could not quite reach the rebound.
Widmer then teed up Bruno Fernandes, whose 20-yard strike caught the top of the crossbar, and the rapid pace of the second half continued when Karnezis superbly tipped Brozovic’s shot around the post.
Jovetic tested Karnezis with a viciously swerving strike after 63 minutes, the goalkeeper shovelling the ball wide, before Icardi shot off-target from just outside the box.
Inter had not come from behind to win in Serie A all season, but they took the lead with 15 minutes to play.
Biabiany got down the right wing and produced a sublime cross, which Jovetic chested into the open goal from a few yards out with Karnezis nowhere.
Thereau and Widmer went close to equalising for Udinese and Handanovic made a superb block to deny Zapata, with Eder scoring his first Inter goal on the break to seal a sixth home victory for Inter in their last seven games at San Siro.
Key Opta stats:
– This is Inter’s first come-back win of the season. The Nerazzurri had collected only three draws and nine losses in their 12 previous games from trailing situations in this campaign.
– Cyril Thereau has equalled his best goal scoring tally in Serie A (11 goals, like in 2012-13).
– Stevan Jovetic has scored eight goals in eight league games against Udinese, his favourite opponent in Serie A.
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