STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan): Alexis Sanchez‘s first goal since rejoining Inter and a Hakan Calhanoglu penalty fired the Nerazzurri to a crucial 2-1 win over a stubborn Salzburg side. With it, Simone Inzaghi‘s side took another crucial step towards qualification from Champions League Group D.

The Chilean opened the scoring in the first half to reopen his Inter account, and crucially for the hosts Calhanoglu made no mistake in the second half when he was presented with the task of converting a penalty minutes after Oscar Gloukh had equalised.

As Inzaghi expected, the Austrian side caused problems for the Biscione, but the Italians now sit on seven points from their three games so far.

Sanchez’s goal helps Inter turn the tide after tough start

Inter’s Alexis Sanchez celebrates. [@Inter_en]

Simone Inzaghi had warned his players about Salzburg‘s aggressiveness in his pre-match press conference and the opening minutes seemed to prove him right. The visitors immediately put Inter under pressure, and the hosts barely had the time to get control of the ball before an opponent was right on top of them.

The visitos impressed both with and without the ball and they looked difficult for the Nerazzurri to live with. Oscar Gloukh gave Inter their first scare after four minutes with a fine shot that forced a good save from Yann Sommer.

A brilliant through ball set Roko Simic sprinting towards the goal shortly after and only a combined effort from Stefan de Vrij and Benjamin Pavard prevented Salzburg from capitalising on their second chance of the opening 10 minutes.

And then, just with Inter struggling to both recover the ball and keep possession, a well-worked team move resulted in the opener.

While Henrikh Mkhitaryan‘s pass was intended for Davide Frattesi, the Italian could only – and likely accidentally – flick the ball into the path of Alexis Sanchez. The Chilean’s first-time finish with the inside of his right boot gave Alexandre Schlager no chance and put the hosts ahead.

The goal seemed to take a toll on Salzburg‘s confidence, as the visitors started presenting more gaps to the Nerazzurri, who carved out a couple of chances before the break.

Calhanoglu responds to Gloukh’s equaliser

In Inzaghi‘s usual fashion, the second half started with a substitution that saw Nicolo Barella come in to replace the booked Mkhitaryan.

Although Inter looked able to create chances more easily than in the opening 45 minutes, Salzburg‘s ability to quickly move the ball from back to front kept causing headaches to the hosts’ defence.

This is exactly how the Austrian side eventually managed to find a leveller, with Simic brilliantly working a long ball that was laid off for Kjaergaard and then played forward again to set up Gloukh for a first-time shot, with which he picked out the far corner of Sommer‘s goal.

Luckily for Inter, though, the visitors found a way to almost immediately spoil what they had just achieved as Lucas Gourna-Douath‘s foul inside the box resulted in a penalty that allowed Calhanoglu to restore the hosts’ advantage from the spot. The Turk dispatched a perfect and powerful penalty into the bottom corner.

Inter’s Hakan Calhanoglu celebrates. [@Inter_en]

In an attempt to put things level again, Salzburg ended up leaving massive gaps at the back that Inter almost managed to take advantage of. Lautaro Martinez‘s thought he had added a third goal, but his effort was ruled out after technology showed Davide Frattesi to have been narrowly offside.

Inter, then, sit on seven points from their three games so far and are well placed to progress through Group D and into the Champions League knockout rounds.