?A brace from Mauro Icardi helped Inter see off Atalanta at San Siro and climb to second in the Serie A table.
The prolific striker took his tally for the season to 13 with two second-half headers as
The hosts began in the ascendancy, searching for an early opener, but there were few notable opportunities and soon it was Atalanta posing the greater threat.
Gian Piero Gasperini’s side were compact and well-drilled, allowing Inter little time on the ball and attacking at pace when they successfully hunted it back.
The visitors came close when
Their first real chance seemed to lift the home side; there was an increase in tempo and they enjoyed some prolonged pressure. That the game reached half-time still goalless, though, was hardly surprising given the scarcity of clear goal-scoring opportunities for both sides.
There was a significant improvement after the break, and Inter were in front five minutes after kick-off when an unmarked Icardi headed home
The Nerazzurri had been largely uninspiring but, in Icardi, they possess a striker capable of deciding games. Another Candreva cross was met by another header from the Argentine forward on the hour mark to double his side’s lead and put them firmly in command.
Both goals had been scored with very little pre-warning; it was a hardly a free-flowing, dominant Inter display but they had been typically effective.
Atalanta, meanwhile, were unable to create enough to overly trouble their confident and disciplined hosts,
There wasn’t enough time for the away side, increasingly bereft of ideas, to launch a comeback, and Inter saw out the remainder of the game with impeccable professionalism to close the gap on Napoli at the top.