Sports Desk : dhakamirror.com
Inter Milan secured their spot in the next season’s Champions League with a 3-2 victory over Atalanta, displaying good form ahead of the final of Europe’s top club competition.
Inter had an astonishing start with Romelu Lukaku and Nicolò Barella goals within three minutes, then Lautaro Martinez sealed the 3-2 win over Atalanta that guarantees a top four finish.
The hosts were fresh from retaining the Coppa Italia with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Wednesday and needed a point here to be sure of their target, as well as preparing for the Champions League Final on June 10. Tucu Correa joined Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Milan Skriniar on the treatment table, with Roberto Gagliardini suspended, Valentin Carboni and Mattia Zanotti at the Under-20 World Cup. La Dea were decimated, missing Duvan Zapata, Jeremie Boga, Hans Hateboer, Jose Luis Palomino, Brandon Soppy and Matteo Ruggeri.
It took just 44 seconds for Inter to break the deadlock, as Lautaro Martinez combined with Romelu Lukaku in the centre-circle, sending the Belgian clear to dribble around Marco Sportiello and score from a tight angle.
Incredibly, it was 2-0 before the third minute had been completed, as Federico Dimarco saw two attempts parried by Sportiello, who could do nothing on Nicolò Barella’s volley into the roof of the net from seven yards. It was their best start to a Serie A match since January 1941 against Roma.
Hakan Calhanoglu had the ball in the net at the ninth minute too, but he was offside when gathering a deflected Francesco Acerbi effort.
Dimarco’s free kick was palmed out from under the bar, while Andre Onana used his legs to deny Rasmus Hojlund and Teun Koopmeiners scuffed the finish wide after a run from midfield.
Hakan Calhanoglu skimmed the near post through a sea of legs and Onana fingertipped the Koopmeiners volley into the ground over the bar.
Atalanta got one back when a corner had several attempts charged down until Mario Pasalic managed to get there before Danilo D’Ambrosio to fire in from six yards. It was a fine way to mark his 200th competitive game for La Dea.
After the restart, a Lautaro Martinez volley was deflected wide on Lukaku assist, then Lukaku’s ball rolled across the face of goal inches past both Martinez and the far post.
Sportiello pushed a long-range Calhanoglu missile over the bar before Inter made it 3-1 with a wonderful team goal. Lukaku protected the ball with his back to goal in the centre-circle, in one movement turned and sent Marcelo Brozovic clear with the through ball, the Croatian then rolling across for Lautaro Martinez to finish.
Atalanta got another back in stoppages, as Luis Muriel’s free kick went into the wall, but his rebound shot was a rocket that rebounded in off Onana from the crossbar.
Inter 3-2 Atalanta
Lukaku 1 (I), Barella 3 (I), Pasalic 36 (A), Lautaro Martinez 77 (I), Muriel 91 (A)