Keita Balde Diao scored his first Inter goals as an experimental side made light work of Frosinone in a 3-0 Serie A victory ahead of a key stretch in the Nerazzurri’s season.
Inter deputies Keita and Lautaro Martinez stepped up on Saturday, with Ivan Perisic and Mauro Icardi among the men rested before the midweek trip to Tottenham, as Inter bounced back from a humbling defeat at Atalanta last time out.
Martinez teed up Keita for the first goal and there could and should have been further daylight between the sides long before the roles were reversed and Martinez got on the scoresheet.
The result never looked in doubt, though, and Keita got his second late on as the San Siro crowd enjoyed the closing stages ahead of that clash with Spurs and a season-defining fortnight.
— Inter (@Inter_en) November 24, 2018
Inter quickly set about peppering the Frosinone goal and, moments after Martinez headed over the top from close range, Keita drilled the opener past Marco Sportiello.
The overworked goalkeeper clawed away a swerving Martinez drive as Luciano Spalletti’s men went chasing a second, with Sportiello extended again before the break to keep out Milan Skriniar.
Samir Handanovic scrambled the ball clear as Daniel Ciofani’s header threatened an unlikely equaliser early in the second half, but Inter responded in style and Keita crossed for Martinez to nod home.
Sportiello then reprised his earlier heroics to repel low drives from Matteo Politano, twice, and Martinez, before the former slid Keita in to coolly convert for his second and cap a fine evening.
What does it mean? Inter ease to victory
On Friday, Spalletti played down talk he would select a weakened side against Frosinone. He also claimed the strugglers would be every bit as tricky as Tottenham or Juventus. If that were the case, Inter could be in for a fine few weeks. Victory at San Siro proved little, in truth, but the Nerazzurri came through unscathed and blooded some fringe men.
Inter wide men thrive
A fourth start brought two goals and an assist for Keita, but Politano, on the opposite flank, really stood out as Inter’s creative spark. The 25-year-old took defenders on and delivered with real quality, creating four chances in the first half alone. The depth to Inter’s squad was evident as Perisic and Antonio Candreva watched on.
Martinez no match for Mauro
Argentina international Martinez showed promise and linked up well with Keita, but he was wasteful in front of goal in the first half, with one glaring headed miss, before later making amends. While this was an encouraging performance, his competition in this system – it would seem – is Icardi and he is some way off dethroning the captain.
Key Opta facts
– Mauro Icardi played his 200th game in Serie A (117 goals). His 100th was also against Frosinone in November 2015.
– Inter have won eight of their last nine Serie A games, scoring in each of these.
– Inter have won five home Serie A games in a row, keeping a clean sheet in all of the last four.
A daunting sequence of fixtures lies before Inter. They travel to Wembley to meet Tottenham in midweek, then face Roma and Juventus before their final Champions League group game against PSV.
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