Inter Milan win big
Inter Milan survived a first-half onslaught from 10-man Sampdoria before winning 4-0.
Last Updated: 13/04/14 5:36pm
Samir Handanovic helped Inter Milan survive a first-half onslaught from 10-man Sampdoria before the Nerazzurri hit their straps to plunder a 4-0 victory at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Mauro Icardi opened the scoring for Europa League-chasing Inter but goalkeeper Handanovic saved Maxi Lopez's penalty and dexterously repelled countless Samp efforts to steer the visitors towards half-time unscathed.
Eder's early dismissal ultimately proved critical to Samp's chances of pulling off a comeback and Inter took advantage of their extra body to wrap up the victory through further goals from Icardi, Walter Samuel and Rodrigo Palacio.
The result lifts Inter above Parma and into fifth place in the Serie A table - with five games remaining - while Samp remain in 12th.
Inter, under siege from the off, would somehow reach the interval with a one-goal advantage and they had one man to thank.
Handanovic's first save was easy enough as he protected his near post from Lopez, and it looked like he might have a quiet day when Inter opened the scoring after 10 minutes.
Icardi struck a blow against his former club with a well-judged connection on Palacio's cross from the right.
The Argentinian was booked for his overzealous celebration and tensions soon boiled over at the Marassi.
Firstly, Andrea Ranocchia's late foul on Daniele Gastaldello earned Samp a penalty, but Handanovic parried Lopez's spot-kick to safety.
That got Eder and Samuel fighting and the Brazilian picked up two yellow cards in succession and had to walk.
Lopez attempted to make amends for his penalty miss in the 31st minute but Handanovic made a fingertip save to flick the ball out for a corner.
A second superb save saw Gianluca Sansone's free-kick turned round a post and, on the stroke of half-time, Handanovic preserved Inter's lead with a fine stop on Roberto Soriano.
Angelo Da Costa needed to emulate his counterpart's heroics when play resumed, with Palacio denied at the near post by a fine one-handed save from the Samp keeper just before the hour mark.
Inter would get past him again, though, as Samuel's precise header from a corner put the Nerazzurri 2-0 up.
The hosts were rattled all of a sudden and Icardi took full advantage to power home a quickfire third with a left-footed drive on Palacio's through-ball.
Lopez might have narrowed the gap with a shot on the turn in the 64th minute, but he missed the mark to hand the initiative back to Inter.
In the 79th minute, it was 4-0 to the rampant visitors.
Capitalising on good build-up play from substitute Ricky Alvarez, Palacio finally got himself on the scoresheet by cutting inside before driving the ball home.