Inter completed a remarkable second-half turnaround with two goals in three minutes to defeat Fiorentina 3-1 in Tuesday’s Serie A clash.
Riccardo Sottil deservedly opened the scoring after wonderful play down the left flank by Nicolas Gonzalez to edge Fiorentina into a deserved lead at the Artemio Franchi.
However, Matteo Darmian’s driven strike restored parity after the interval and equalled a club-record 24-match scoring run in league games, only previously achieved way back in 1949-50.
Edin Dzeko and Ivan Perisic then netted either side of Gonzalez’s needless two yellow cards in the space of a minute as defending champions Inter consolidated their position at the summit.
Samir Handanovic produced two early stops in a frantic opening 10 minutes, first to deny Dusan Vlahovic’s poked effort towards the top-right corner and then Cristiano Biraghi’s low drive.
Joseph Alfred Duncan blasted a speculative long-range attempt, which sailed narrowly over, before Gonzalez created the opener by sliding across goal for Sottil to tap-in.
Hakan Calhanoglu’s free-kick almost found the visitors an equaliser against the run of play but Bartlomiej Dragowski parried away before Inter thought they had levelled through a Marco Benassi own goal, only to be denied by an offside in the build-up.
After the break, Vlahovic wasted an opportunity to double Fiorentina’s lead and was made to pay for blazing over when Darmian arrowed into the bottom-left corner after a smart offload from Nicolo Barella.
Inter inflicted another blow through Dzeko, who climbed above Biraghi to head home from Calhanoglu’s outswinging corner, before Lautaro Martinez spurned a glorious chance as he dragged wide from Barella’s cutback.
Substitute Alexis Sanchez should have sealed the game, but he could only curl over before Gonzalez received his marching orders for two bookable offences, both for dissent.
Perisic then completed the comeback as he tapped into an empty net after being set up by Roberto Gagliardini’s pass across goal.
What does it mean? Inter extend unbeaten run to top Serie A
Inter came out a different side in the second half and produced a response worthy of their champions tag to maintain their unbeaten start to the new term.
Simone Inzaghi’s men sit a point ahead of Napoli in second after extending their unbeaten Serie A run to nine games against Fiorentina, though Maurizio Sarri’s side have a game in hand.
Meanwhile, the hosts occupy sixth on nine points as their losing streak at home against the Nerazzurri becomes five.
Calhanoglu in control
Calhanoglu has scored four Serie A goals against Fiorentina, his best against a single opponent in the Italian top-flight, and he set up Dzeko’s header to put Inter into the lead.
The Turkey midfielder dominated throughout before his removal, making four key passes — two more than any other player on the pitch — and completing over 90 per cent of his opposition-half passes.
Gonzalez blots copybook
Gonzalez became the first Viola player since Alberto Aquilani in 2012 to be involved in goals in his first two home league matches with Fiorentina when he assisted Sottil.
The winger produced a game-high three shots on target and competed for the most duels among Fiorentina players (nine) but he stained an astute performance with the needless sending off 12 minutes from time.
Inter host Atalanta on Saturday, while Fiorentina travel to Udinese the next day.
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