Inter ended their dry run with a 4-0 domination of Cagliari, including Mauro Icardi’s historic goal, to pile pressure on Roma and Lazio.
The Nerazzurri were still one point off Lazio and Roma in joint third place, so outside the Champions League places. Marcelo Brozovic returned from suspension, but the three-man defence was scrapped and Yann Karamoh chosen in place of Antonio Candreva. The Sardinians rotated their squad ahead of a crunch match with Bologna, but Niccolò Barella and Luca Cigarini were suspended, with Diego Farias, Alessandro Deiola and Daniele Dessena injured.
Cagliari had a surprisingly good recent Serie A record at San Siro, unbeaten here since 2011, picking up two draws and two wins.
Inter hadn’t scored for three games in a row, but it took them under three minutes to break the deadlock here. Joao Cancelo’s free kick from near the corner flag whipped past everyone into the far bottom corner, with the lack of contact putting goalkeeper Alessio Cragno off.
Ivan Perisic tested Cragno at the near post, but Karamoh should’ve made it 2-0 on 13 minutes when he horribly snatched the finish wide with only the goalkeeper to beat, sent clear by a perfect Mauro Icardi assist.
Youngster Karamoh missed another absolute sitter, volleying on to the crossbar with the inside of the right boot from 10 yards on a Danilo D’Ambrosio floated cross.
D’Ambrosio set up Rafinha moments later, whose angled drive was on target until Cragno palmed it inches past the far post.
Bad news for Inter, as Roberto Gagliardini suddenly pulled up with a hamstring injury and was stretchered off to make way for Borja Valero.
The hosts were dominant, but Leandro Castan got a decisive block to stop Icardi tapping in an Ivan Perisic assist from close range.
Karamoh finally got the ball in the back of the net on the stroke of half-time, but only after he’d been flagged offside. Icardi then just failed to get the final touch after Perisic flashed a ball across the face of goal.
The second arrived straight after the restart, as Rafinha knocked on a ball from just inside the box and Icardi wasted no time smashing it in. He set a new personal best of 25 goals in a single Serie A season.
Marcelo Brozovic marked his return from suspension with a stunning goal, bursting into the box and curling a splendid right-foot finish into the far bottom corner. Curiously, it was his first goal since last meeting Cagliari in November.
Karamoh stung Cragno’s gloves at the near post and Icardi’s header was over the bar after the goalkeeper misjudged his leap. VAR was used in the final minutes for Marco Andreolli handball, but substitute Antonio Candreva had blasted it at him from point-blank range, so there was nothing the defender could’ve done.
Perisic won a free kick in the final minute and made the most of it, as Brozovic rolled it to the edge of the box where the Croatian’s scorching left-foot shot whizzed through a sea of legs.