Despite conceding a late penalty against Catania, Inter were rarely troubled tonight as they retained their lead in the Serie A table with a 2-1 win against the Sicilain side.
Serie A leaders Inter looked to bounce back from another disappointing Champions League performance as they hosted Catania at San Siro.
They created their first chance after only three minutes, as the visitors lost the ball and Samuel Eto’o made a run towards the goal, before playing to Wesley Sneijder in the area, but the Dutchman tried another assist instead of shooting and the chance was lost.
Inter did take the lead in the 12th minute through Sulley Muntari, who looked for Eto’o with a free kick which eluded everyone and went past goalkeeper Andrea Campagnolo.
The home side continued to control the match after that, and the Rossazzurri only had their first chance in the 20th minute, when Ezequiel Carboni fired a shot from about 30 meters that called Julio Cesar into action.
Seven minutes later, Patrick Vieira had a chance to make it 2-0 as he controlled the ball inside the area and fired a shot with his right foot that hit the crossbar.
At the half hour mark, the Nerazzurri doubled their lead with a perfect free kick by Sneijder, which went over the wall and into the top corner of the net out of Campagnolo’s reach.
For the remainder of the first half Inter limited themselves to controlling the result, and created no further chances to build on their lead.
(Sulley Muntari opened the score early on for Inter against Catania)
During half time, Inter coach Jose Mourinho made no substitutions, while his Catania colleague Gianluca Atzori brought on Giuseppe Mascara and Pablo Ledesma for Marco Biagianti and Mariano Izco respectively.
The start of the second half saw little change compared to the first half, as the hosts continued to control the proceedings.
However, in the 54th minute there was a chance for Catania, as Takayuki Morimoto controlled the ball in the area and played it back to the onrushing Carboni, whose first time shot went just wide.
Four minutes later, Inter had a good chance as Sneijder fired a free kick that was punched away by Campagnaro, the ball then came to Vieira whose header from a good position incredibly went wide.
The home side had very little difficulties controlling the match, and ran very few risks throughout most of the second half.
However, they were given a scare in the 83rd minute, when Julio Cesar failed to hold on to the ball and was forced to bring down substitute Gianvito Plasmati, which led to an inevitable penalty. Mascara coolly converted it to make it 2-1.
Catania went all out to try and find an equaliser, but failed to create any further chances after that. Thus Inter held on for an important victory that sends them top of the table again with 22 points after Sampdoria's big win earlier today.
Danilo Pochini, Goal.com