Inter edged past lowly Verona to move within two points of Serie A leaders Napoli and maintain their unbeaten start to the league season.
The Nerazzurri were not particularly free-flowing in Veneto, but goals from Borja Valero and Ivan Perisic, either side of a Giampaolo Pazzini penalty, were enough to secure another victory.
Inter’s impressive start to the season was maintained with the win, while Verona continue to languish in 19th place.
Inter began the game with all the confidence and swagger of a side yet to taste defeat in Serie A, controlling possession and asking questions of Verona’s vulnerable defence.
But the hosts contained much of the early pressure and soon offered an attacking threat of their own, buoyed by the raucous supporters at the Stadio Marc’Antonio Bentegodi. Clear chances had been lacking for either side – long range efforts, many of which were blocked, were a feature of a somewhat tentative first-half.
With 36 minutes played, though, Inter were in front, Valero meeting a superb, curling Antonio Candreva cross to cushion home a volley from close range.
The goal came with the game in something of a lull, but it placed the visitors firmly in command when it had seemed like the first 45 minutes might remain goalless and fairly insipid.
Inter went in search for a second goal to put the game beyond Verona after the break, although a mistake from Samir Handanović just before the hour mark led to voracious appeals for a penalty, which at first appeared to have been unsuccessful. But VAR was called upon and – as is becoming routine in Serie A – led to the dramatic awarding of a spot-kick, after a prolonged delay.
Pazzini, on as a substitute and with his first touch, clinically dispatched the penalty to level the scores.
Parity did not last long, however. Fewer than ten minutes later, Perisic followed up a half-cleared corner and drilled a powerful shot past the helpless Nicolas Andrade.
The home side had commendably fought to stay within reach of Luciano Spalletti’s high-flying outfit, but it seemed that another equaliser might be beyond their reach.
Inter had at times been uncharacteristically ragged, perhaps even slightly complacent, and there were moments of concern as the game reached its latter stages. But they did enough to keep their pugnacious opposition at bay in the final stages and record another important victory.