Lautaro Martinez led the way with a brilliant hat-trick as Inter Milan rallied back from a goal down to thrash Crotone 6-2 in Serie A on Sunday afternoon.
It was Crotone who took a surprise early lead at San Siro on Sunday with Niccolo Zanellato powering home a header just twelve minutes into the game. Inter Milan struck back eight minutes later though, as Lautaro Martinez scored his first of the day, slotting past the visitors’ goalkeeper after being played in by Romelu Lukaku.
Just past the half-hour mark, Antonio Conte’s men went in front as Luca Marrone turned Nicolo Barella’s cutback for Martinez into his own net. However, Crotone hit back just five minutes later as Vladimir Golemic converted from the penalty spot after Arturo Vidal had fouled Arkadiusz Reca inside the box.
It was all Inter in the second half though, as Martinez scored his second in the 57th minute before Romelu Lukaku made it 4-2 seven minutes later. With twelve minutes left on the clock, Martinez got his first-ever hat-trick for the Nerazzurri, heading in a rebound after Ivan Perisic’s initial effort was saved before Achraf Hakimi added a sixth in the 87th minute.
It was a good comeback from Inter Milan, who were pushed to the limits by Crotone in the first half. And here’s how we rated the performances of Conte’s players on the afternoon.
Samir Handanovic: 6/10
Made a good block to deny Pedro Pereira an opportunity early in the first half. Not a lot he could have done to save Zanellato’s header. Guessed the right way for the penalty, but couldn’t get his hand to the shot as it was hit with tremendous pace by Golemic. Misplaced just five passes on the day.
Milan Skriniar: 6.5/10
The Slovakian international was solid in his defensive duties and extremely composed with the ball at his feet. Completed 50 of his 51 attempted passes against Crotone, that included a key pass, while he completed a tackle, an interception and won an aerial duel.
Stefan de Vrij: 6.5/10
Much like Skriniar, the Dutchman kept things tight at the back with his positioning and ability to read danger coming in handy. Made two interceptions, two tackles and won four headers during the game. The defender helped build play from the back with his passing, completing 54 of his 56 passes against Crotone.
Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10
Like the rest of his defensive partners, Bastoni was precise with his distribution from the back on Sunday, with one of his long passes finding Lukaku leading to Inter’s fourth goal of the game. Made a crucial block to deny Junior Messias an opportunity. Impressive.
Achraf Hakimi: 7/10
Caused Arkadiusz Reca plenty of problems with his pace and movement out wide while remaining reliable in his defensive duties. Made two successful tackles and an interception, but his most notable contribution came late in the game when he guided the ball into the bottom corner with his left foot to make it 6-2.
Achraf Hakimi in Serie A this season:
Fantastic numbers as always. ⚫️? pic.twitter.com/FTXngwYfqn
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) January 3, 2021
Nicolo Barella: 7/10
Forward-thinking each time he got on the ball as he tried to drive his team upfield, while he was not shy of putting in the hard yards when not in possession. Forced the own goal in the first half as it was his cutback that Marrone put into his own net. Withdrawn in the second half to give some rest.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Made a nervy start as Crotone took the game to Inter Milan, but turned it around after the half-time break. Started a counterattack which led to a chance early on, before delivering a fine corner kick which De Vrij headed over. Got the assist for the all-important third goal. Played two key passes, while completing two interceptions and a game-high four tackles.
Arturo Vidal: 4/10
Back into the starting XI for the game, the Chilean international was a liability for Inter Milan on Sunday. Allowed Zanellato to breeze past him and head home the opening goal before giving away the penalty with a poor challenge on Reca with the score at 2-1. It was hardly a surprise to see him being withdrawn at the half-time break.
Ashley Young: 6/10
Looked good going forward and played a match-high three key passes on the day, delivering some inviting crosses into the box. However, was caught out at the back on more than one occasion, which sees him lose a rating point. Made way for Matteo Darmian late in the game.
Lautaro Martinez: 10/10
Lautaro Martinez's game by numbers vs. Crotone:
8 total duels contested
7 shots (most)
5 shots on target (most)
3 ball recoveries
3 chances created (joint-most)
3 goals (most)
2 interceptions (joint-most)
1 take-on completed
And one match ball. ? pic.twitter.com/8jEItg4c6q
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 3, 2021
Having ended his rut in front of goal last time out, the Argentine stepped it up a notch on Sunday afternoon as he scored his first hat-trick for Inter Milan. The first two goals were all about composed finishing while the third saw his instincts kick in to react fastest to Perisic’s saved shot.
Could have easily had a couple more goals but volleyed wide and couldn’t beat the goalkeeper in a one-on-one situation in the first half. Started the move for the sixth goal with a fine cross-field pass for Darmian.
Romelu Lukaku: 9/10
The Player to Watch in our match preview, Lukaku was extremely key for Inter Milan to turn things around the way they did. Got the assist for the first goal as he played Martinez in and was involved in the buildup to the second and third goals as well, showing some nifty footwork and playing neat passes.
Got the goal his performance richly deserved as he made it 4-2 in the second half. Made way for Perisic in the latter stages after he seemed to have picked up a knock. Inter Milan will be hoping that it is nothing serious.
Make that 12 goals on the season. https://t.co/MIecqJFqTD
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 3, 2021
Stefano Sensi: 6.5/10
Replaced Vidal at half-time and things naturally improved for Inter Milan. Was always available to receive a pass from his teammates and always looked to play forward passes.
Roberto Gagliardini: 6/10
Came on to replace Barella for the last twenty minutes or so. Solid in the middle, helped Inter protect the lead they built up in the second half.
Ivan Perisic: 6.5/10
On for Lukaku in the 75th minute. Looked lively in his short time and forced a save from the Crotone goalkeeper, leading to Martinez’s third goal of the afternoon.
Matteo Darmian: 6.5/10
Came on for Young for the final fifteen minutes. Got the assist for Hakimi’s goal.
Aleksandar Kolarov: N/A
Replaced Bastoni for the last ten minutes.
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