Three takeaways from Cagliari 0-2 Inter: Calhanoglu makes Brozovic forgotten, Luvumbo a bright spot for the Isolani

Hakan Calhanoglu is allowing Inter fans to forget all about Marcelo Brozovic, and with Lautaro Martinez in this kind of form Simone Inzaghi and the Nerazzurri can dream big this season after another comfortable win over Cagliari.

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After defeating Monza at home in the opening round of the 2023/24 Serie A campaign, Inter went on the road and earned a victory away to Cagliari on Matchday 2, winning 2-0 in Sardinia.

Both goals were scored in the opening half hour of the match, but were enough to secure the win and the Nerazzurri were not placed under any serious pressure by the Isolani. Lautaro Martinez maintained his scoring touch while Hakan Calhanoglu seized greater control of the Biscione midfield.

Brozovic who? Calhanoglu makes the new role his own

This summer saw Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic transferred to Saudi club Al-Nassr after eight years at Inter, apparently leaving a void in the Nerazzurri midfield. The 30-year-old had operated in the middle of the midfield quintet, winning the ball back for the team and initiating attacks from deep positions.

Although Biscione coach Simone Inzaghi tried Calhanoglu numerous times in that role in 2022/23, it seemed unusual not to see the Turkey international in advanced positions. However, he showed once more against Cagliari that he can occupy that role permanently and make it his own.

The 29-year-old completed 105 out of 107 passes with an impressive passing accuracy of 98%, and was successful with 11 out of 13 long balls. Defensively, he played his part too, completing four tackles at 80% efficiency, and made 13 recoveries. Considering how raw Kristjan Asllani still is, a matured Calhanoglu to control the midfield will be of great important to Inzaghi.

Lautaro Martinez celebrates. (@Inter_en)

Lautaro keeps ground with Osimhen and Giroud

Denzel Dumfries might have been the unlikely goalscorer of the opening goal for Inter, but Lautaro scoring the second should not come as a surprise at all. The reliable Argentinian forward scored his third goal in two Serie A games, putting him level with Napoli striker Victor Osimhen and the evergreen Olivier Giroud of AC Milan.

The aforementioned Osimhen and Giroud both played prior to the Nerazzurri so this gave Lautaro an idea of what he needed to do before the Cagliari game. He only needed one goal in this match as the Italian giants so little need to run up the score, but he still put in a solid shift and remains a headache for opposition defenders.

It remains to be seen if Giroud can pose a sustainable threat for the capocannoniere crown, but the likes of Lautaro and Osimhen should be entering their prime, and watching the two battle it out to become Serie A leading goalscorer will be enticing again this season.

Lautaro Martinez in action for Inter away at Cagliari. (@Inter_en)

Luvumbo adds flair to a predictable Cagliari squad

Newly-promoted Cagliari demonstrated that they did not possess the quality or a strategy to shock Inter while the Nerazzurri did more than enough to secure a victory against the Sardinians.

Veteran coach Claudio Ranieri started with his preferred 4-4-2 formation, but the emphasis on wing play, whenever they went forward, was far too easy for the Biscione defence to deal with. When Zito Luvumbo replaced the injured Leonardo Pavoletti 10 minutes before half-time, though, the Isolani looked less predictable on the ball.

The 21-year-old didn’t have too many touches, but he was dangerous with the ball at his feet. He completed three dribbles, and he created a great chance for fellow substitute Paulo Azzi to score, but the Brazilian squandered his effort.

Although he did not score or supply an assist, Ranieri should give Luvumbo greater opportunities to feature in the Cagliari attack and bring more predictability.

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