After an October to forget, Inter Milan finally put up a dominant performance on the road, beating Udinese 3-0. Rodrigo Palacio and Andrea Ranochchia each scored from set pieces in the first half, and while Antonio Di Natale had a couple chances in the second, it was the visitors that knocked in the third, thanks to Ricky Alvarez.
Walter Mazzarri stuck with his favored 3-5-1-1 formation but decided to try Fredy Guarin behind lone striker Palacio. The results were immediate. Guarin put on perhaps his best performance of the season. . He didn't manage to get his name on the scoresheet, but did hit the post in the second half after a great individual effort, and was generally much more lively than in previous matches. Has Mazzarri now found his nerazzurri Hamsik?
Francesco Guidolin, too, set his players out in a 3-5-1-1, but the quality simply wasn't there. Udinese looked asleep at the wheel, putting on an awful performance and certainly not looking like a side prepared to challenge for the European positions.
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Inter dominated the game from the beginning and created some chances in open play, but ultimately scored both their goals in the first half from set pieces. Saphir Taider's perfect cross in the heart of penalty area was met by Rodrigo Palacio's head. The Argentine scored his seventh goal of the season by sending the ball in the right corner of Zeljko Brkic's goal. Just five minutes later, the nerazzurri scored another. Brkic went out to try and prevent damage from a corner, but completely missed the ball. Andrea Ranocchia was there to volley it into the empty net, making it 2-0 for the visitors.
Udinese started showing signs of life at the start of the second half and were able to create one or two chances, but Samir Handanovic was ready to save two long-range efforts from former teammate Toto Di Natale. And...that was about it for the hosts. Di Natale was subbed off with injury before the hour mark, and it was up to Mathias Ranegie to spearhead Udinese's attack for the rest of the game. The Swede didn't do a particularly great job.
Inter took control of the game, keeping Udinese from coming close while also creating more chances of their own. The third goal finally came in injury time, when Alvarez capped one of the many quick breaks. Palacio served his fellow Argentine a perfect ball to put Alvarez one on one with Brkic, enabling him to score an easy goal.
The nerazzurri may be back to winning ways, but they've still got a challenge ahead if they want to make the Champions League places. Next week they host Livorno, which should be simple enough, but Inter don't have much depth to their squad. Walter Samuel, Jonathan and Ranocchia all were pulled early, and although it's not known how serious the injuries are, Inter's frail back line doesn't need more bad news.
Udinese: Brkic; Naldo, Danilo, Domizzi; Widmer, Pereyra (Fernando Borges 58'), Allan, Badu, Gabriel Silva; Muriel (Lopez 70'); Di Natale (Ranegie 57')
Goals: Rodrigo Palacio 24', Andrea Ranocchia 29', Ricardo Alvarez 90'