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SPAL 1 Inter 2: Icardi brace makes it six wins in a row for resurgent Nerazzurri

Inter made it six wins in a row in all competitions as a Mauro Icardi brace helped them edge past SPAL 2-1 in Serie A on Sunday.

After a difficult start to the season – which saw them win just one of their opening four games – Luciano Spalletti has now led his side to four league wins on the spin, a run that has moved them up to third in the table.

Icardi set Inter on their way in the 14th minute, but they were made to work hard for their victory by a spirited SPAL outfit, who missed a first-half penalty through Mirco Antenucci.

Alberto Paloschi looked to have secured a deserved point for the hosts after 72 minutes, but Icardi's cool finish 12 minutes from time maintained the Nerazzurri's recent revival.

Inter made their early superiority count in the 14th minute when Icardi's header looped over Alfred Gomis after taking a significant deflection off Johan Djourou's arm.

The hosts should have restored parity just four minutes later when referee Fabio Maresca awarded a spot kick for Miranda's clip on Felipe. Antenucci failed to take advantage, though, fizzing his penalty past Samir Handanovic's right-hand post.

Handanovic preserved his side's lead twice before the interval, pawing away Felipe's close-range effort and tipping over Mattia Valoti's powerful drive from distance.

Andrea Petagna squandered a golden opportunity to pull his side level shortly after the hour mark, blazing over from just eight yards after an almighty goalmouth scramble, while Manuel Lazzari lashed over after a surging run into the area.

Substitute Paloschi turned home Mohamed Fares' cross from close range to pull the hosts level 18 minutes from time, but Icardi had the last say, sending a curled effort into Gomis' far left corner to seal all three points. 

What it means: Spalletti's men march on

The serious questions being asked of Spalletti at the start of the campaign are a distant memory now. The Nerazzurri are in fine form and will just hope that the international break does not spoil their momentum. SPAL, meanwhile, have now lost four in a row and will take scant consolation from running their more illustrious opponents so close.

Icardi strikes vital blow

There was more than a touch of fortune about his first, but last season's joint-top Serie A scorer showed exactly why he is his side's talisman with a wonderful finish past Gomis for the game's decisive goal.

Antenucci's miss proves costly

It could have all been so different for SPAL had their captain not fizzed his penalty past the post so soon after Icardi's opener. Antenucci has scored just once this season and it is not hard to see why after such a poor spot-kick.

Key Opta stats:

- Mauro Icardi (103 goals) has equalled Christian Vieri as the seventh player with the most Serie A goals scored with Inter.
- Inter have won four Serie A games in a row for the first time since September 2017.
- Inter are the team to have scored most goals (six) in the last 15 minutes this season.
- Sime Vrsaljko has provided an assist in Serie A for the first time since March 2016 (Sassuolo v AC Milan).
- Mirco Antenucci has failed tonight his first penalty in Serie A, he had scored all his previous six.

What's next?

After the international break Inter face a mouth-watering derby against AC Milan, while SPAL will make a daunting trip to the capital to face Roma.