Inter Milan moved to within one point of Serie A pacesetters Napoli on Wednesday after comfortably seeing off Spezia 2-0, while Roma crashed to a miserable 1-0 defeat at Bologna.
Roberto Gagliardini and Lautaro Martinez struck in each half for Inter at a freezing San Siro as Simone Inzaghi’s side jumped above AC Milan in second place ahead of their city rivals’ match at struggling Genoa in one of two late fixtures.
It extends Inter’s unbeaten run in all competitions to 10 games and was their fourth win on the bounce with a much-changed line-up as Inzaghi shuffled his deck with a host of defensive injuries and a trip to Roma coming on Saturday.
Inter’s hot streak has them right on the heels of Napoli, who are at Sassuolo at the same time as Milan face club legend Andriy Shevchenko at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Shevchenko’s Genoa are just a point behind 17th-placed Spezia and can dump the Tuscans and their coach, former Inter favourite coach Thiago Motta, into the drop zone.
Spezia have conceded a whopping 34 goals in 15 games and were brushed aside by an Inter side which was without several starters and in second gear for much of the night.
Gagliardini got them up and running nine minutes before half-time when he finished a delightful team moved by meeting Martinez’s delicate flick with a perfectly placed first-time finish.
After Jakub Kiwior did brilliantly to block Joaquin Correa’s goal-bound low drive Samir Handanovic made sure Inter led at the break with a superb save from Kelvin Amian’s header in first half stoppage-time.
Martinez and Hakan Calhanoglu were both stopped from doubling the hosts’ lead by Ivan Provedel in the minutes after the restart while Correa crashed a shot off the bar, but it wasn’t long before Inter had their second.