Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the unlikely hero for Inter Milan as the Nerazzurri nearly threw away a two-goal lead against Fiorentina.

Inter Milan nearly shot themselves in the foot against Fiorentina but ultimately were able to come away with a much-needed win at the Artemio Franchi Stadium on Saturday. In a game that had plenty of twists and turns, the visitors held their nerve when it really mattered.

Simone Inzaghi’s side went into the clash on the back of a mini resurgence following their poor start to the season. The improved morale showed as Nicolo Barella and Lautaro Martinez struck early to give the visitors a 2-0 lead in the first 15 minutes.

Federico Dimarco brought down Giacomo Bonaventura inside the penalty box in the 33rd minute, conceding a penalty. Meanwhile, Arthur Cabral made no mistake from the penalty spot and handed the home side hope going into the break.

Fiorentina were buoyed by the penalty and slowly took control of the game. Inter got their just desserts in the 60th minute when Jonathan Ikone brought the home side level. Thankfully for the Nerazzurri fans, their team responded to the setback rather than crumbling under the pressure.

Lautaro Martinez then scored his second of the night from the spot in the 73rd minute to restore Inter’s lead. It appeared to be the winner only for Luka Jovic to send Fiorentina crazy in the 90th minute with a well-taken equaliser. But there was still time for more drama as a shell-shocked Inter refused to lie down.

Nicolo Barella and Edin Dzeko combined beautifully to square the ball to Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who saw the ball come off him and nestle in the net. While the Armenian playmaker might not have known much about the strike, it could prove to be a precious three points for Inter in the long run. The Hard Tackle looks at how the Inter Milan players fared in what was an exciting contest at the Artemio Franchi Stadium.

Andre Onana: 5/10

The Cameroonian goalkeeper has been impressive since replacing Samir Handanovic in goal. But this was not one of those nights. He looked shaky and did not get close to saving any of the three goals. While Fiorentina admittedly took their chances well, Onana’s lack of decisiveness was apparent. Just one of those nights for him.

Milan Skriniar: 7/10

Christian Kouame got the better of him a couple of times, but Fiorentina did not take advantage of it. Skriniar was otherwise solid and organised his backline well. Handed the armband, he rose to the occasion and kept the rearguard’s shape as Fiorentina threatened to hit them on the counter. 

Stefan De Vrij: 6/10

The Dutchman struggled to keep up with Fiorentina’s relentless forwards and failed to negate them properly. However, de Vrij did not back down from the fight and held on to see out a big win for Inter.

Francesco Acerbi: 4/10

The veteran was poor all game and struggled to keep up with Fiorentina’s pace and movement. The former Lazio man failed to raise his game and can consider himself lucky that his performance did not cost his side dear.

Matteo Darmian: 4/10

The Italian veteran is usually solid defensively, but none of it was on show on the night. He did not contribute to the attack and was largely spun around by Jonathan Ikone. Darmian fell asleep in the build-up to the home side’s second goal, and it came as no surprise when he was taken off for Denzel Dumfries in the second half.

Nicolo Barella: 7/10

The Italian ace gave Inter a dream start by scoring in the second minute. Barella showed excellent athleticism and movement on the night and did not down his tools all game. He refused to die down despite Jovic’s 90th-minute goal and sprinted up the field to set up Inter’s match-winner. Barella did admittedly go missing a few times on the night but turned up clutch when it mattered.

Hakan Calhanoglu: 6/10

It can be argued that the Turkish playmaker should have done more when in possession. He was excellent otherwise and particularly impressed with his off-the-ball movement. Calhanoglu was also a threat from set-pieces on the night.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6/10

The Armenian had a poor night out and was missing for large parts of the game. He failed to provide any defensive cover to the Inter backline and was arguably among Inter’s poorest players on the night.

Mkhitaryan does, however, get a reprieve as he found himself at the right place and time to bundle in the match-winner despite his best efforts to miss out. It does not matter how, as long as the ball goes into the back of the net.

Federico Dimarco: 6/10

The Italian defender forced Pietro Terracciano into two smart saves and linked up well with Lautaro Martinez. Dimarco was impressive with his delivery and looked good going forward. Defensively, however, he did not inspire confidence and also gave away the penalty that Arthur Cabral converted. He was taken off for Robin Gosens after Ikone made it 2-2 for Fiorentina on the night.

Lautaro Martinez: 8/10

Martinez was easily Inter’s standout player on the night and was a tireless worker upfield. The Argentine took both of his goals with ruthless efficiency and also dropped deep to defend from the front. A tireless worker, he has now rediscovered his scoring form and will have a big role to play for the team in the coming weeks.

Joaquin Correa: 5/10

The former Lazio man continues to struggle and looked out of sorts on the night. He did stretch the Fiorentina defence, opening up space for Martinez to make the score 2-0 on the night. Otherwise, Correa ran into blind alleys too often and lacked conviction in his movement. 

SUBSTITUTES

Edin Dzeko: 7/10

The veteran was an instant improvement over Correa and gave Inter more bite in attack. Dzeko combined well with Martinez and was involved in the build-up for Mkhitaryan’s winner.

Denzel Dumfries: 5/10

He came on for Darmian but fared a little better. Dumfries gave away several unnecessary fouls and also earned himself a yellow card.

Robin Gosens: 6/10

Gosens helped shut out the Inter left flank and provided defensive cover for Acerbi who was struggling to cope on the night. His pace also gave Inter an outlet to hit Fiorentina on the counter.

Raoul Bellanova: N/A

A late substitute for Inter as they looked to see out the game. Although much happened in the final few minutes of the game, Bellanova was not involved.

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