A second-half goal by defender Milan Skriniar was enough for Inter Milan to win 1-0 against Atalanta on Monday, with the win pushing Antonio Conte’s side six points clear at the top of the Serie A standings.
The league leaders looked nervous in the first half and had to thank goalkeeper Samir Handanovic for making a nice save to prevent Atalanta striker Duvan Zapata from giving the visitors the advantage.
Nine minutes into the interval, Skriniar jumped on a loose ball from a corner to pull Inter in front, with Conte’s side digging defensively late to see victory.
The seventh consecutive league victory brought Inter one step closer to a first Serie A title in 11 years. They have 62 points, six ahead of their rivals AC Milan in second position and 10 ahead of Juventus, third champion. Atalanta remains fifth.
“We played against a team from Atalanta who take points at all the big clubs,” Conte told Sky in Italy. “They prepared for this more wisely than in previous matches against us, they knew we could hurt them.
“It was three important points against a great team.”
Milan and Juventus’ victories over the weekend put pressure on Inter, and it showed early on at San Siro as Conte’s side struggled to find their rhythm.
Other than a blocked shot from Romelu Lukaku, Inter have rarely posed a threat to Atalanta, with chances few and far between.
Skriniar scored the winner with what was the hosts’ only shot on target of the entire game.
The victory was hard won late by a fierce defense as Atalanta threw everything at Inter, the final whistle greeted with wild celebrations.
“We played a really good game,” Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini told Sky in Italy. “We lost on a corner, perhaps with a bit of bad luck, in one episode. We’re angry with the result.”