Inter kept pace with Barcelona at the top of Group B in the Champions League after coming from behind to secure a 2-1 away win over PSV on Wednesday.
Radja Nainggolan’s first European goal for his new club and a cool Mauro Icardi finish on the hour gave the Nerazurri their second comeback victory of the campaign, having dramatically beaten Tottenham 2-1 a fortnight ago.
No late fireworks were required on this occasion, although Inter were still made to work for their fifth straight victory in all competitions after falling behind to a Pablo Rosario stunner.
Nainggolan restored parity on the stroke of half-time before Icardi, one of the heroes of the Spurs success, took Luciano Spalletti’s side level on points with leaders Barca after two encouraging outings.
An entertaining first half promised goals from the outset and Rosario emphatically delivered in the 27th minute, whipping a sensational effort from right to left and past a flat-footed Samir Handanovic.
3 – Pablo Rosario attempted more shots in the first half v Inter (3) than all other @PSV players together (2). Screamer. pic.twitter.com/pYsRcCs14A
— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) October 3, 2018
Two chances for Icardi suggested a response was forthcoming, although Inter received a let-off when the onrushing Handanovic escaped with a yellow card for handling the ball outside the area.
Mark van Bommel felt the goalkeeper’s impeding of Steven Bergwijn deserved red and his mood was not helped a minute before the break, Nainggolan rifling in the equaliser from the edge of the box.
Gaston Pereiro curled a shot against the upright soon after the restart but, for all PSV’s promise, they struggled to ever get to grips with Icardi.
The 25-year-old’s 60th-minute winner owed as much to Jeroen Zoet’s error as individual brilliance, the goalkeeper colliding with Daniel Schwaab and leaving Icardi to roll the ball into an empty net.
Handanovic was required to make one final save from an inventive Donyell Malen overhead kick 10 minutes from the end that maintained his team’s perfect start in Group B.
What it means: Inter on course
This was no easy for assignment for Inter, a lesson they quickly learned during a testing first half hour.
However, just as it had been at San Siro two weeks earlier, plenty of character was on display in a fightback that means they are now in pole position to advance alongside Barca.
Icardi on form
Where would Inter be without their inspirational skipper?
The Argentina star was not always entirely clinical at Philips Stadion, but his hold-up play and all-round threat made him a worthy provider of the winner.
2 – Mauro #Icardi is the first Inter player to score in both the first two Champions League match for the Nerazzurri since Adriano in 2004/05. Sniper. #PSVInter
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) October 3, 2018
Zoet causes PSV collapse
One smart save from a first-half Icardi header was not enough to paper over a poor Zoet performance.
The PSV keeper was at fault for both Inter goals as his handling error led to Nainggolan’s equaliser, while a wild attempt at beating Icardi to the second left Schwaab with no chance of rescuing the situation.
PSV meet VVV-Venlo and FC Emmen in the Eredivisie before hosting Tottenham, while Inter take on SPAL and city rivals AC Milan prior to a visit from Barca.