Stefano Pioli got his first win as Inter Milan manager in an exciting 4-2 win over Fiorentina that flew in the face of every negative stereotype associated with Italian soccer.
In truth, there are still plenty of questions for the Nerazzurri. Inter raced into an early 3-0 lead, only to be pegged back to 3-2 by 10-men Fiorentina until Mauro Icardi completed his brace in stoppage time to make certain of all three points.
The home side took the led in the third minute on a thumping goal from Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatian lashed his shot into the upper corner after Fiorentina could only clear Cristian Ansaldi’s cross to the top of the box.
It was Candreva’s second goal in as many league matches and a milestone 50th goal in Serie A.
Inter looked home and dry after just 19 minutes thanks to a gorgeous solo effort from Icardi. The Argentine latched onto a Candreva through ball, cut inside Gonzalo Rodriguez and turned Davide Astori inside-out before dispatching his shot beyond the keeper.
It was Icardi’s 11th and his seventh goal in his last seven games, but it was also a bit historic for Inter.
3- Inter scored 3 goals in the first 19 minutes in a Serie A match for the 1st time since January 1990 (Matthäus-Klinsmann vs Bologna). Epic
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) November 28, 2016
La Viola grew into what was becoming a wide open match and got a life-line in the 37th minute through Nikola Kalinic. The Croatian outpaced the Inter back-line to get on the end of a long ball and swept his first-time effort into the far corner.
Hopes of a Fiorentina revival seemed doomed as Rodriguez was given his marching orders in first half stoppage time for a forearm to the face of Icardi as Inter’s talisman tried to race past him.
The resulting free kick from Ever Banega forced a good save from Tatarusanu to keep the score at 3-1 as the whistle blew for halftime.
Despite the lead and being up a man, there was an air of unease around the San Siro. Just four days before, Inter let a two-goal lead slip in 3-2 loss to Hapoel Be’er Sheva that confirmed its exit from the Europa League.
Fears were almost confirmed during a very nervy second 45.
Fiorentina head coach Paulo Sousa should be lauded for instructing his 10-men to come out for the second half with an attacking mindset.
Fiorentina were on the front foot and Astori should have done better with a header following a Jospi Ilicic free kick.
At the other end, Perisic hit the post from an acute angle, but Ilicic was becoming an ever increasing presence and he pulled the visitors back to within one in the 62nd minute.
Fiorentina set off on a counter-attack and Ilicic picked up the ball on the left before firing a shot that seemed to go right through Samir Handanovic.
18-year-old American Joshua Perez made his debut for Fiorentina when he replaced Cristian Tello in the 75th minute, but it would not be a dream debut as Inter secured all three points in stoppage time.
Congrats on your debut! @Josh__perezzz Keep up the good work bro.. only the beginning!
— Kellyn Acosta (@KellynAcosta) November 29, 2016
The win moved Inter up to 12th with 18 points, while Fiorentina remain in eighth on 20. As things stand, just five points separate La Viola in eighth from Udinese in 15th following a wild week in Italy’s Serie A.