Inter Milan continued their perfect start to the Serie A season thanks to a scrappy win at struggling Crotone.
Milan Skriniar poked home a right-footed shot after some slack defending from Crotone, who dominated large spells but could not find a way past an in-form Samir Handanovic, while Ivan Perisic added gloss to the scoreline late in injury-time.
A cagey opening saw Crotone forward Aleksandar Tonev test Samir Handanovic from the right as the Serbian batted a shot away before Ivan Perisic saw his tame strike comfortably saved.
Tonev made a series of probing runs during the opening 30 minutes, putting centre-backs Skriniar and Miranda on the back foot, but a lack of support led to no final product from the Bulgaria international.
Inter, who came into the game on the back of three consecutive Serie A wins, were well shackled in the first half by their less glamorous counterparts, who kept the likes of Perisic, Mauro Icardi and Antonio Candreva relatively quiet during the opening exchanges.
Midfielders Joao Mario and Borja Valero nearly capitalised on some slack Crotone defending but the former couldn’t hit the target from a tight angle after the Spaniard had won possession in the middle of the park.
Bruno Martella went close from a free-kick after Miranda was booked for clumsy challenge, slamming the ball just wide of Handanovic’s right post.
Tonev was again the main threat after the interval and arguably should have scored when sent through on goal and clear of Miranda during the second half, but could only steer his effort straight at the sprawling Handanovic.
Defender Marcus Rohden saw a glancing header expertly tipped over by Handanovic as the hosts grew closer to an opening goal, before Mario blazed well over from an acute angle.
Inter’s attacking trio failed to click into top gear, with Icardi a peripheral figure throughout, as Crotone finished the stronger against the disappointing Nerazzurri.
However, despite being the worse team throughout the affair, Inter capitalised from some poor set-piece defending from Crotone to strike first through Skriniar, who slotted home past a rooted Alex Cordaz.
Perisic then grabbed his third league goal of the season late on, striking into the far corner as Crotone were caught out on the break, helping secure all three points for Inter.
The win sees Inter climb to the top of the Serie A table ahead of Juventus’ and Napoli’s matches this weekend, while Crotone remain without a win in their opening four league games.
Crotone XI: Cordaz, Martella, Ajeti, Ceccherini, Samprisi, Rodhen, Barberis, Mandragora, Stoian, Tonev, Budimir
Inter Milan XI: Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Miranda, Dalbert, Gagliardini, Valero, Candreva, Mario, Perisic, Icardi