Dubai: Inter Milan moved top of the Serie A standings with a comfortable 2-0 win at Fiorentina thanks to goals from Nicolo Barella and Ivan Perisic on Friday night.
Inter took the lead when Barella curled a stunning strike into the net beyond the despairing dive of goalkeeper Bartlomiej Dragowski in the 31st minute.
A brilliant double save from Inter keeper Samir Handanovic then kept his side ahead at the end of the first half, and those stops proved crucial as the visitors doubled their advantage seven minutes after the interval through Perisic.
Inter could have added to their tally but saw out the win with ease to reach 47 points, one ahead of rivals AC Milan who host Crotone on Sunday. Fiorentina stay 12th on 22 points.
“We had a good match, but we should have scored more goals and closed the game out earlier,” Perisic told Sky Sport Italia.
“But we are there, in first place, and that’s all that counts. We must always now play each game as if it were our last. We can no longer make mistakes.” Antonio Conte was forced to watch from the stands as the Inter coach served the final game of a touchline ban, but he will have been impressed by his side’s start to the match Barella was denied by a super save from Dragowski early on before he scored, with his latest strike meaning he has been involved in eight league goals this season — three goals and five assists — a record for him in a Serie A campaign.
The 36-year-old Handanovic’s intervention to deny the hosts an equaliser snuffed out the only big chance Fiore created, with the game put to bed by Croatia international Perisic.
Romelu Lukaku and substitute Lautaro Martinez should have added a third, but their profligacy mattered little as Inter secured a third win in their last four league games along with their fourth successive Serie A clean sheet.