Goals from Danilo D’Ambrosio and Federico Dimarco gave Inter a 2-0 win over Empoli, maintaining their interest in retraining the title. They stay third in the table, seven points off their city rivals, Milan, who lead, while Empoli remain 12th.
The game started at a decent lick with Empoli making most of the running. But gradually, Inter asserted themselves, and on 34 minutes, a terrific cross from Alexis Sanchez - who looked cured of the manuniteditis that has afflicted him over the last four seasons – allowing D’Ambrosio to put the Nerrazurri ahead.
Inter continued their dominance in the second half and the game was effectively settled on 52 minutes when Samuele Ricci clattered Nicolo Barella to stop a counter, and was sent off. Inter could have scored several more but made do with just one, Dimarco guiding home Lautaro Martinez’s cross. The Derby Della Madonnina, the weekend after next, promises to be a jazzer.
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TALKING POINT - Alexis on the way back

Alexis Sanchez will never be the force of nature we saw at Arsenal, but he is no longer the cowering lump we saw at Manchester United. He was not brilliant tonight, but he was good at crucial moments, and broke the back of the game by creating Inter's first goal.
Perhaps Alexis' game has changed. Rather than use his physique to muscle in off the left, he is using his nous to prompt from the centre, secure in the knowledge that Lautaro Martinez is doing the stuff he used to do. It's not as good as it was, but it's also much better than he was.

MAN OF THE MATCH - Federico Dimarco (Inter)

A constant threat and scored the clinching goal.

PLAYER RATINGS

Empoli: Vicario 7, Stojanovic 6, Ismajli 6, Luperto 6, Parisi 6 Bajrami 6, Ricci 4, Bandinelli 5, Zurkowski 5, Pinamonti 5, Cutrone 4. Subs: Mancuso 6, Haas 6, Asllani 6, Henderson 6, Flamozzi 6.
Inter: Handanovic 6, D'Ambrosio 7, De Vrij 6, Bastoni 6, Darmian 6, Barella 6, Brozovic 6, Gagliardini 6, Dimarco 7*, Sanchez 6, Lautaro 6. Subs: Kolarov 6, Corrrea 6, Sensi 6, Dzeko 6, Vecino 6.

KEY MOMENTS

19’ - Inter win a corner down the right and it's not cleared properly so they go again, finding Bajrami short. He sashays by Brozovic with embarrassing ease and squares for Luperto; he must score! He takes the ball well, and with Handanovic diving left, shoots right ... only for D'Ambrosio to slide in out of nowhere to make the block! That is phenomenal defending.

34’ - GOAL! Empoli 0-1 Inter (D'Ambrosio) On his first start of the season too! I'm not totally sure what he's doing up there, but on the edge of the box, Sanchez digs out a dink, and D'Ambrosio has a running leap at it, lobbing into the far corner with a head-ear-shoulder combo!

52’ - Silly behaviour, the corner goes to the edge, looking for a volley, and Inter mug them, Lautaro crowding out Bajrami and finding Barella, who sets off. But he manages no more than a few strides before Ricci lunges across him; Barella falls, rolls, squeals and writhes - he gets decent levitation and lands on a shoulder - then the ref shows Ricci a red card! He cant have any arguments with that.

59’ - What's come over Matteo Darmian? He shifts it to make room for the cross, sticks it on Gagliadini's head ... but from five yards, his mate can only head onto the post! That should've been game over.

63’ - Barella powers down the right and caresses a gorgeous cross onto the head of Lautaro, who makes decent contact. If we're being harsh, he doesn't hit the corner, but it looks for all the world like the power's taking it in ... but out of nowhere, Vicario extends an arm backwards, to claw the ball away from very close to the line.

67’ - GOAL! Empoli 0-2 Inter (Dimarco) That's been coming. Inter have got Empoli down the right, and when Lautaro bounces away from Luperto, he crosses low and hard, allowing Di Marco to jab home at the far post. Job done.

KEY STAT

Danilo D'Ambrosio is one of the only two defenders to have scored in each of the last seven Serie A seasons. Leonardo Bonucci is the other.
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