Mauro Icardi scored a brace as Inter Milan edged Sampdoria in a five-goal thriller to go top of Serie A.
The Argentina international is now ahead of Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and behind only Lazio’s Ciro Immobile in the league’s goalscoring charts, having bagged two after Milan Skriniar opened the scoring.
Dawid Kownacki and Fabio Quagliarella brought Sampdoria back into the game but the visitors’ rally came to late to secure a point.
Sampdoria pair Quagliarella and Duvan Zapata had shots early on but Antonio Candreva came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening exchanges, smashing just wide of Christian Puggioni’s right-hand post.?
Inter winger Perisic could have opened the scoring after cutting inside but shot straight at Puggioni before the Croatian turned provider minutes later, swapping wings and cutting a cross back to Danilo D’Ambrosio who could stabbed wide.
Sampdoria pressed well in the early stages but Inter’s dominance in chances created was rewarded when Milan Skriniar, a former Sampdoria defender, scrambled home from close range from a corner after Matias Vecino’s flicked header.
Inter look strong contenders in Serie A this season and, alongside an exciting Napoli side, pose a real threat to Juventus, who have looked wobbly during the opening months of the campaign.
A moment of madness from Puggioni saw the goalkeeper sprint out of his goal and give the ball straight to Perisic, who struck from distance but saw his looping shot come back agonisingly off the post to safety with the goal vacant.
After getting lucky moments earlier, Puggioni was helpless as Icardi grabbed his first of the night, slamming home on the volley.
A late goalmouth scramble was as close as Sampdoria came to scoring in the first half, Miranda holding off the waiting Zapata as Samir Handanovic pounced on the loose ball.
Sampdoria substitute Gianluca Caprari added some much needed impetus into the visiting side’s play after the break but their momentum was halted by Icardi, who netted again from Perisic’s curled cross for a three-goal lead and his 11th Serie A goal in 10 appearances.
However, Sampdoria gave themselves hope just after the hour mark as Dawid Kownacki snuck in at the back post to volley past the unsuspecting Handanovic after some static Inter defending.
And they should have gained more ground on their opponents soon after but Quagliarella could only blaze high and wide when sent scampering through on goal.
The veteran striker did get himself on the scoresheet later after intense Sampdoria pressure, heading in from Dennis Praet’s cross, but Inter held on for the win.
Inter’s victory means they are now top of Serie A, but the Nerazzurri will lose that spot should Napoli beat Genoa on Wednesday.
Inter Milan XI: Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Miranda, Nagatomo, Vecino, Gagliardini, Candreva, Valero, Perisic, Icardi
Sampdoria XI: Puggioni, Murru, Ferrari, Silvestre, Bereszynski, Torreira, Barreto, Ramirez, Praet, Quagliarella, Zapata