Thursday, January 27, 2022

Salernitana 0-5 Inter: Sanchez on target as Serie A leaders surpass century of goals for 2021

SoccerNews in Serie A 17 Dec 2021

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Alexis Sanchez was on the scoresheet as Serie A leaders Inter brushed aside Salernitana 5-0 at Stadio Arechi on Friday.

Linked with a possible January move to Barcelona in recent days, the Chile forward was handed just his third league start of the season and repaid coach Simone Inzaghi with his first top-flight goal since May.

Ivan Perisic and Denzel Dumfries had already put the Nerazzurri comfortably in control in the first half, the latter scoring his side’s 100th league goal of 2021.

Substitutes Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini added fourth and fifth goals for Inter, who now lead Serie A by four points with one game left this year.

Inter needed only 10 minutes to take the lead, Perisic given a free header six yards out from Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner.

Edin Dzeko glanced a Dumfries cross wide before Salernitana came within inches of an equaliser against the run of play, Joel Obi denied a goal against his old club by Samir Handanovic after being played through by Franck Ribery.

Just three minutes later, Dzeko sent Dumfries racing through and the wing-back’s strike crashed off the underside of the bar and, although it bounced away from goal, it had clearly crossed the line.

Dzeko should have nodded in a third before the break but managed to steer the ball wide after goalkeeper Vincenzo Fiorillo had flapped at thin air.

Yet Inter only needed six minutes of the second half to make it 3-0 after all. After a promising Salernitana attack broke down, Sanchez sparked a counter-attack before racing up the pitch and firing low past Fiorillo from Calhanoglu’s pass.

Martinez, who came on for Sanchez, swept home from the middle of the box after the ball fell kindly to him, and Gagliardini drilled in a fifth with three minutes of normal time left.

What does it mean? Nerazzurri on top and treading new ground

Inter will be winter champions if they beat Torino next week, while the pressure is now firmly back on Milan and Napoli as second prepare to face third on Sunday.

This game also saw Inter become just the fourth side in Serie A history to score 100 goals in a calendar year – and the first for more than half a century.

The previous teams to manage this feat were Milan (105 in 1949 and 120 in 1950), Torino (111 in 1947 and 114 in 1948) and Juventus (100 in 1933).

Sanchez proves a point

Sanchez, according to some reports, has some doubts about a return to Camp Nou as part of a mooted swap deal involving Luuk de Jong.

He certainly played here like a man determined to show his worth to Inzaghi: starting and finishing a counter-attack was a play right out of his prime days for Arsenal.

Hakan only imagine…

Salernitana barely threatened Handanovic’s goal once Obi missed that first-half opening.

How they would love a player like Calhanoglu, who created 10 chances – two more than the home side managed overall.

What’s next?

Inter head to Torino on Wednesday, with Salernitana facing Udinese a day earlier.

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