Soccer-Inter smash Salernitana to tighten grip on top spot

Soccer Football - Serie A - Salernitana v Inter Milan - Stadio Arechi, Salerno, Italy - December 17, 2021 Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic scores their first goal REUTERS/Ciro De Luca

SALERNO, Italy (Reuters) -Dominant Inter Milan notched a sixth consecutive Serie A victory by thrashing bottom side Salernitana 5-0 in Salerno on Friday to stretch their lead at the top of the standings to four points.

The champions are on an unstoppable run of league form, winning their last five games without conceding a goal and going ten matches without defeat.

“These games look simple on paper, but they aren’t. The guys approached it well from the start. I made some changes but you couldn’t tell, everyone was involved," Inter coach Simone Inzaghi told Sky Italia.

Ivan Perisic headed in the opener before Denzel Dumfries smashed in a second before the break, marking the first time in Inter's history that they have reached 100 Serie A goals in a single calendar year.

Alexis Sanchez fired in a third before substitutes Lautaro Martinez and Roberto Gagliardini completed the rout to leave the hosts bottom of the table with eight points.

Inter are top with 43 points, four clear of AC Milan in second, who play Napoli on Sunday evening.

"We must continue like this, we are on a great run and we face Torino next," Inzaghi added.

"It will be our ninth game in 25 games, we have to give one final push."

The mood for the home fans at the Stadio Arechi was in sharp contrast to their visitors, as fans hung banners of protest after uncertainty over the club’s ownership situation led to reports that they could be expelled from Serie A mid-season.

Events on the pitch gave them little to cheer, either.

Perisic headed home from a corner and Dumfries cannoned a shot off the underside of the bar and in, with goal-line technology showing it had crossed the line after the ball bounced back out.

Inter’s pressure was relentless and they missed several good chances to add to their total.

The finest goal of the night was their third, as they started a counter-attack on the edge of their own box, which Sanchez eventually dispatched into the bottom corner after a slick series of passes.

Martinez and Gagliardini both benefited from the ball breaking to them in the area for their finishes inside the final 15 minutes as Inzaghi’s side showed their relentless side.

Earlier, Andriy Shevchenko's nightmare start as Genoa coach continued as he suffered a 3-1 defeat by Lazio.

The Ukrainian has picked up one point from his first six league games in charge and his side are 19th with 10 points, while Lazio climbed to eighth with 28 points.

(Reporting by Alasdair MackenzieEditing by Christian Radnedge)

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