Inter 1-0 Torino: Champions end 2021 clear at the top

By Sports Desk December 22, 2021

Inter consolidated their position at the top of Serie A with a slightly scrappy 1-0 win over Torino in their final match of 2021.

This has been a year to remember for the Nerazzurri, ending an 11-year wait for the title under Antonio Conte, but Simone Inzaghi may yet ensure the coming 12 months are equally exciting.

While Inter will surely have to be better than they were against Torino to retain their crown, another Denzel Dumfries goal was enough to secure the three points.

Victory took Inter seven clear at the summit ahead of matches later on Wednesday for challengers Napoli and Milan, able to put their feet up over the festive period before returning to a potentially season-defining sequence of fixtures.

Torino had been encouraged by a laboured Inter start but allowed the champions to break on the half-hour mark and Nerazzurri shirts flooded forward.

Edin Dzeko's square pass from the left evaded Marcelo Brozovic, only to run instead for Dumfries to aim into the bottom-left corner via the post.

Pressure from Ola Aina forced Lautaro Martinez to stab wide when he looked to have the beating of Vanja Milinkovic-Savic, and the inability to add to that lead before half-time ensured a slightly nervy final 45 minutes.

Torino's best effort saw Sasa Lukic's low free-kick parried away, though, as Inter did just enough to end the year on a high, even missing a chance for a second as Alexis Sanchez struck the post.

What does it mean? Stuttering Inter stay on track

Inter had won their previous four games against Torino and scored at least twice in each of them, aiming to extend that run to five matches for the first time in this fixture.

Inzaghi's men were far from convincing, though, only marginally outshooting Torino 14 to 12. Even the narrow margin of victory was scarcely deserved.

Free-scoring champs falter...

Having become the first team since Milan in 1950 to pass 100 Serie A goals in a calendar year last time out, more was expected of Inter than they showed here.

Neither Dzeko nor Martinez were able to aim a single shot on target, with the latter's run of netting in four straight games against Torino ended.

But Denzel delivers

Signed to replace Achraf Hakimi at the start of the season, Dumfries has really come into his own in December. After three Serie A starts up until the beginning of the month, the Netherlands international has since been named in the XI on a further five occasions.

And Dumfries has repaid Inzaghi's faith by scoring his first three Serie A goals, including this crucial winner.

What's next?

Inter face some huge fixtures in the new year but start 2022 at Bologna on January 6. Torino go to Atalanta on the same day.

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