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Sunday afternoon’s encounter between Inter and Chievo at San Siro in Milano saw the Nerazzurri put the Veronese side to the sword with one of their finest attacking displays in several years.
Rolando Maran could do nothing but look on and pray for the full-time whistle as his charges were dispatched with ease by the irresistible trio of Antonio Candreva, Mauro Icardi and Ivan Perišić.
Though it was the aforementioned Croat who grabbed most of the post-match headlines thanks to his hat-trick, the way in which the fourth goal was crafted epitomised everything that was good about Luciano Spalletti’s team in front of yet another 50,000 plus crowd.
As the game approached the hour mark, Slovak centre-back Milan Škriniar brought an uncompromising end to a rare Gialloblu attack, allowing the impressive Marcelo Brozović to send a perfect through ball to Candreva who had acres of space to run into.
The Italian international spotted a teammate making a darting run into the box who duly converted to make it 4-0. Icardi? João Mário? No, it was the same man who had started the move from the edge of his own box; Škriniar.
The former Sampdoria man has already established himself as a lynchpin of the Beneamata defence, just a few months since joining from the Blucerchiati.
His solid showings have brought a new-found steel and resilience to Inter’s backline, but the determination he showed to finish off an attack he had started showed a level of quality and determination the team has lacked since the glory days of José Mourinho’s tenure.
Having only moved to Italy from his homeland less than two years ago, the 22-year-old’s rise from unknown to irreplaceable has become one of the great success stories of Italian football. His performances have been so impressive that La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are already interested in securing his services.
His long-term future will ultimately take care of itself but, for now, all Inter fans are interested in is that he continues to perform the way he has been doing in his first few months of the campaign.
Škriniar has established himself as a leader of this team and he will be absolutely crucial to their chances of securing the Scudetto come May.
Not only did that stunning goal symbolise his superb start to life as a Nerazzurri player, but it also showed everyone exactly why this year will be different and Juventus won’t have the title race all their own way.
Written by Jordan Russell
Follow Jordan on Twitter @JordRuss96
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