Three takeaways from Atalanta 1-2 Inter: Title chasing Calhanoglu, versatile Darmian and Dimarco deficiencies

Inter overcame Atalanta at the Gewiss Stadium on Matchday 11 of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign through the determination of Hakan Calhanoglu and versatility of Matteo Darmain, but the defending of Federico Dimarco could have cost them.

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Amid torrential rain at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo, Inter emerged victorious with a 2-1 win over Atalanta on Matchday 11 of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign and ensured that they would finish the weekend still leading the standings.

The two teams stood in silence to remember those in Tuscany that have lost their lives to the horrific weather conditions sweeping the region, before goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Lautaro Martinez took the points back to Milan, despite a Gianluca Scamacca consolation.

Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates his penalty against Atalanta (@inter)

Hakan Calhanoglu is determined to land a Scudetto

Although just 29-years-old, there has been a determined look in the eyes of Calhanoglu this season, as if to suggest that the attacker believes this could be his best chance of ever winning the Serie A title. Maybe as he joined the Nerazzurri the summer after their triumph in 2020/21, only to watch former side AC Milan lift the trophy 12 months later.

The Turkish international has played almost every minute of the season so far and is one goal from equalling his 2022/23 tally of five, but his delivery from set-pieces has been exceptional, even by his own high standards. However, it was from the penalty spot against Atalanta that the midfielder’s ice cold nerves benefitted the Nerazzurri. With slippery conditions under foot, Calhanoglu confidently dispatched the 10th spot kick of his Inter career.

Matteo Darmian highlights the value of the understudy

With the rain pouring down at the Gewiss Stadium, accidents were bound to happen and on 30 minutes, an unintentional collision resulted in Benjamin Pavard writhing around in agony and having to exit the action with a knee injury. However, with limited financial resources, coach Simone Inzaghi did not have a like-for-like replacement for the €30m World Cup winning defender.

What the Italian tactician did have was a wealth of Serie A experience in the highly versatile Darmian, who might struggle for playing minutes at times, but knows his role within the squad perfectly. Rather than slot in and look to ensure that the hosts did not penetrate the Inter goal, though, the 33-year-old was suddenly found bursting onto a loose ball in the Atalanta box and winning the vital penalty from which Calhanoglu converted.

Lautaro Martinez watches on in the rain against Atalanta (@inter).

Defensive deficiencies can still let down Federico Dimarco

While Federico Dimarco has one of the best left feet in Serie A, if not Europe, from an attacking perspective, the 25-year-old still has some defensive flaws in his game and were exposed against La Dea. The Italian made a weak and foolish attempt to shield the ball from Ademola Lookman near his own box. Once he lost possession, he deserved to watch embarrassingly as Scamacca scored.

The goal did not derail the Nerazzurri title challenge, but denied them a Serie A record-breaking sixth consecutive away win from the start of a season without conceding a single goal, but must be mindful of more defensive lapses from the Dimarco.

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