Inter Milan moved to the top of the Serie A table with a hard-fought 3-1 victory against a resurgent Cagliari on Saturday night.
Buoyed since the arrival of Diego Lopez as coach and with nine points from the previous four matches, the Sardinians started confidently and it might have been a different story had they taken an early lead, but Samir Handanovic somehow clawed a volley from the unmarked Leonardo Pavoletti away from the goal line.
A change in formation from Inter boss Luciano Spalletti, instructing his team to switch from 4-2-3-1 to 3-5-1-1, eased the flow of attacks from the hosts and brought the opening goal against the run of play after 29 minutes. Antonio Candreva’s cross was knocked back across goal by Ivan Perisic for Mauro Icardi to tap in.
Marcelo Brozovic doubled the lead early in the second half as Inter closed in on a fifth straight league win at Cagliari.
However, Leonardo Pavoletti reduced the deficit midway through the second half and, with their tails up, Lopez’s side once again attacked in waves.
But it was to no avail as Icardi popped up with his 15th goal of the campaign seven minutes from time to restore the two-goal cushion and seal victory.