Lautaro Martinez’s late winner eased the growing pressure on Luciano Spalletti, as Inter beat Parma 1-0 to end a run of three Serie A matches without a win.
Spalletti’s side went into the fixture having lost their last two league outings, and although they failed to impress against a well-drilled Parma side, substitute Martinez secured the points less than three minutes after replacing Joao Mario.
There was little to get excited about in the first half, though Parma did go close to taking the lead when Gervinho saw a ferocious shot come back off the crossbar.
Inter stepped things up after half-time and dominated. Danilo D’Ambrosio saw a goal disallowed for handball following a VAR review, but the Nerazzurri’s persistence finally paid off in the 79th minute when Martinez struck.
79′ NOW THAT’S AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT FROM EL TOROOOOOOOOO!!!
— Inter (@Inter_en) February 9, 2019
In a first half of few chances, Parma crafted the only clear-cut opportunity in the 24th minute when Gervinho cut into the area from the left and saw a fierce effort crash back off the bar.
Joao Mario should have at least got a shot on target just before the break, but the Portuguese midfielder completely missed the ball when it sat up nicely for him about 12 yards from goal.
Inter looked brighter at the start of the second half and created two chances within three minutes – Luigi Sepe thwarting Radja Nainggolan from point-blank range, before Mauro Icardi headed an Ivan Perisic cross just wide of the top-left corner.
The Nerazzurri thought they had opened the scoring in the 55th minute, but VAR ruled in Parma’s favour, with D’Ambrosio adjudged to have handled the ball in the process of steering it into the net.
Inter got the all-important goal eventually, however, as Martinez – introduced for Joao Mario in the 77th minute – latched on to Nainggolan’s pass and fired beyond Sepe to end Parma’s resistance.
They could have added more, but Matias Vecino saw a close-range effort cleared off the line after beating Sepe and Marcelo Brozovic struck the post from 25 yards.
What does it mean? Inter still lacking something in attack
Although Inter ended their run of three league games without a goal, there can be little denying they often look blunt going forward. Icardi still has not scored in Serie A since mid-December, and he was unimpressive again.
Martinez drags Inter over the line
There were few standout performers on the day, but Martinez will take the plaudits for his showing from the bench. He looked sharp in less than quarter of an hour on the pitch, his presence seemingly bringing a little more from Icardi towards the end as well.
Icardi’s impact minimal
Perhaps Icardi can point to the fact that the service to him was not great, but there were a couple of openings that he sniffed out and wasted, heading wide just after the break. He failed to get a single shot on target and his goalless run in Serie A continues.
Inter are back in Serie A action next Sunday when they host Sampdoria, following a Europa League trip to Rapid Vienna on Thursday. Parma head to Cagliari on Saturday.
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