A professional performance from Inter was enough for the Nerazzurri to defeat Lazio 2-0 on Serie A Matchday 16.
Lautaro Martinez capitalised on a defensive error to give the Italian giants the lead before Marcus Thuram extended the lead after the break. Manuel Lazzari was sent off for dissent later on, ending a dismal night for the Aquile.
This victory allowed Inter to extend their lead at the top of the Serie A table whereas Lazio remain midtable. If Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi is flying high, his Biancocelesti counterpart Maurizio Sarri is looking like a shadow of his former self.
Inter pick the right moments to pounce on Lazio errors
Although Inter came out on top in some statistics, they do not fully reflect on how the game progressed as Lazio did have some decent spells of possession early on.
The Nerazzurri did end up with 52% for the end of the game, but the Thuram goal and Lazzari sending-off ruined any momentum or confidence the Aquile might have had. The Biscione had a slightly better xG despite taking one less shot with 1.38 compared to 1.36, but it was perhaps because of the quality of players taking the shots for each side.
Arguably the best chance for Lazio was from Nicolo Rovella with a solo effort and he is not known for his scoring exploits. Adam Marusic’s error was all Inter needed to start scoring and it proved that nobody can’t be naive against this Nerazzuri side, especially with an in-form striker like Lautaro Martinez ready to pounce.
A typical Inzaghi will defend well and also be lethal on counter-attacks. They did not hit on the break as much as the usually did, but against the Biancocelesti, they did enough.
Inter need to extend lead over Juventus for scudetto race
This victory was valuable for a variety of reasons. Not only did Inter get a win on the road in a city like Rome, they also extended their lead at the top of the Serie A table by four points.
After Juventus were held to a 1-1 draw away to Genoa on Friday evening, the Nerazzurri had a great opportunity to capitalise on the slip-up from their title rival and they were able to do so. Despite Inter not producing a convincing performance like in other matches, they showed what title-winning teams do, and that is win even when they are not playing well.
With no European football for the Bianconeri to worry about, Inter need to build up a sufficient lead that would allow them to balance both domestic football and Champions League action. Although the Serie A season is just 16 matches old, any chance of creating a health gap is important and it may be beneficial in the long run.
Sarrismo nothing more than a memory
When Maurizio Sarri emerged at Empoli in the 2014/15 Serie A campaign, he achieved safety from relegation and the Tuscans played an entertaining style of football that enabled his players to punch above their weight.
This lead him to coach at clubs like Napoli, Juventus, and Chelsea. He came close to winning the scudetto with the Partenopei playing beautiful football before he did so at the Bianconeri albeit in a more mechanical manner. Sarri won the 2018/19 Europa League with the Blues but he was not able to implement his philosophy their either.
The 64-year-old is in his third season at Lazio, and the Aquile are struggling to play enterprising football as well as produce results. When they finished second at the end of the 2022/23 Serie A campaign, Sarri owed a lot to the excellent goalkeeping of Provedel and a solid defence that was marshalled by Alessio Romagnoli.
Lazio against Inter on Sunday evening played possession football that offered little in terms of breaking down the Nerazzurri defence. Despite some promising bursts, the Biscione were able to close down a Biancocelesti side that was lacking in ideas.
Sarri’s Napoli were arguably the prettiest of losers, but that attacking approach almost made them beautiful winners. His Lazio side are neither entertaining nor a victorious one. Sarrismo or Sarriball is nothing more than a memory for football fans.