Reeling Inter end Sassuolo's unbeaten start to go second

·3-min read
Inter Milan's Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez (L) scored for his second consecutive legue game.

Inter Milan powered back from their midweek Champions League defeat by Real Madrid to sweep aside high-flying Sassuolo 3-0 Saturday and move second in Serie A.

Antonio Conte's side are on the brink of elimination from the elite European competition, but inflicted this season's first defeat on Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium.

Inter move second ahead of Sassuolo, with both teams on 18 points after nine games, two points behind league leaders AC Milan who host Fiorentina on Sunday.

"I'd like to congratulate my players on how they did today," said Conte.

"It's not easy, especially at Inter, because many people can't wait to criticise, to throw mud at us.

"But we are unified and such situations should provide us with more strength."

Inter's top scorer Romelu Lukaku started on the bench along with Ashley Young, with Sassuolo without their star strike Francesco Caputo.

Sanchez opened the scoring with his second goal in as many league matches in the fourth minute, following good work from Lautaro Martinez and poor defending from Sassuolo's Vlad Chiriches.

It was a nightmare match for Chiriches who 10 minutes later accidently turned a powerful Arturo Vidal centre into his own net, with the Romanian later limping off with a muscular problem.

Filip Djuricic missed a chance to pull the hosts back into the game, rattling the woodwork after 21 minutes.

Roberto Gagliardini added a third just before the hour mark, sealing a win that will boost Inter before Tuesday's European trip to Borussia Moenchengladbach.

"Two goals down Inter after 13 minutes it gets tough," said Sassuolo coach Roberto De Zerbi.

"But to grow you have to fall and have days like this."

- Eriksen nears exit -

Lukaku and Young came on in place of Lautaro and Sanchez for the final 10 minutes, with the Belgian forward having a goal ruled offside.

Conte also brought on Christian Eriksen, who looks set to leave Inter in January after just one year.

The Danish midfielder came on for Ivan Perisic for the final five minutes, his first game in over a month.

"In January, if (Eriksen) has not taken part in some matches, he will be the first to ask to be transferred," Inter's CEO Giuseppe Marotta said before the game.

"But we will have to do it without controversy. It happens that there are players who are not functional to the system.

"Last January we took a market opportunity, let's not forget that we bought him for 20 million euros and he's a very good player.

"The coach has the right and duty to field the 11 players who give the most answers and guarantees."

A minute's silence was observed before the game for Diego Maradona with a photo of the former Argentina and Napoli star also projected on giant screens in the 10th minute of all matches in Italy.

Champions Juventus, in fifth, head for Benevento later Saturday with Atalanta at home against Hellas Verona.

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