MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan wing back Achraf Hakimi bagged a brace of goals after Romelu Lukaku had opened the scoring in a comfortable 3-1 win over Bologna in Serie A on Saturday.
Inter's third win in a week, with three goals scored in each game, left Antonio Conte's side second in the table with 21 points from 10 games, two behind AC Milan who face Sampdoria on Sunday.
Inter, who appear to have recovered from a sticky patch in October, have won six and drawn three of their 10 matches so far, scoring an impressive 26 goals and suggesting that they can launch a serious bid for the title.
Conte said that Hakimi, who spent the last two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund, was still adapting to Serie A.
"In our championship, there are fewer spaces and the opposing teams are better at identifying your characteristics," said Conte.
"I'm happy because this performance increases his confidence and self-esteem. He has the qualities and I have to make him one of the strongest in that role."
Lukaku opened the scoring with his eighth league goal of the season, and his 12th in all competitions, in the 16th minute although it was far from the most memorable of his career.
The Belgian failed to make proper contact as he attempted to volley Ivan Perisic's cross but he reacted quickly to score at the second attempt.
Inter controlled the game and, after Lukaku had wasted another chance with a poor first touch which allowed Lukasz Skorupski to save, Hakimi added the second goal on the stroke of halftime.
The Moroccan, signed from Real Madrid in the close season, ran on to Marcelo Brozovic's through ball and calmly slipped the ball past Skorupski.
Inter sat on their lead after halftime and Emanuel Vignato pulled a goal back in the 67th minute after the ball ran loose to him at the far post, but Bologna's revival was short-lived.
Three minutes later, Hakimi struck again, cutting inside and bursting away from his marker before scoring with a low shot into the far corner.
Bologna coach Sinisa Mihajlovic was left seething at his team's first-half performance.
"I'm disappointed, as always we came here to win but in the first half we did nothing," he said.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)