Another week is in the books and the MLS Cup playoffs are racing into view.
It’s at this time of the season where teams need their very best players to step up. Whether they’re battling for Supporters’ Shield or just scrapping over the playoff line, difference-makers, well, they make all the difference.
So, looking back at Week 26, who are the best individual performers in MLS? Let’s rank the top five.
Omar Gonzalez was left high and dry by defensive partner Eriq Zavaleta for Nashville’s equalising goal at the weekend. Perhaps he could have covered a little quicker? But he hit back immediately with a great finish at the far post to restore Toronto’s lead, so no harm no foul either way.
Besides, Gonzalez was otherwise a defensive colossus, winning three aerial duels and making eight clearances as TFC pushed back wave after wave of Nashville pressure.
All too often, defenders get overlooked on lists like these, so we’re here to salute some centre-back greatness off the bat.
Fresh from scoring a stunning hat-trick against Real Salt Lake in Week 25, Chofis was back at it again netting a brace at the weekend. But whereas the Quakes lost 4-3 to RSL, they were able to beat Austin FC by the same scoreline.
His first strike was a clinical penalty to level the scores at 3-3 after the Quakes had fallen 3-1 down in Texas. And the second was a clinical reverse hit after Brad Stuver had initially saved a powerful long-range effort from Chofis himself.
San Jose are still alive in the Western Conference playoff chase and if Chofis can maintain his recent form, they might just sneak into the postseason.
Following Minnesota United’s thumping 3-0 win over the LA Galaxy, Adrian Heath revealed he’s been encouraging Emanuel Reynoso to shoot more. Given the two goals he scored in that game, is it any wonder?
The Argentine put the game to bed within 20 minutes, netting twice from long range with equal precision. On another day, Reynoso could have notched a couple of assists with the chances he created, too, but a brace will do for now.
WIth Bebelo back fit, expect the Loons to rise up the standings and consolidate their place in the playoffs, especially with performances like this.
With a goal and an assist, Ezequiel Barco’s post-Olympics tear continues. The Argentine starlet has now notched six goals and five assists in nine MLS appearances since returning from Tokyo and has been a key figure in Atlanta United’s surge up the Eastern Conference.
On Saturday, Barco set the tone against DC United with a superb free-kick inside 18 minutes, while he followed up with an assist for Josef Martinez’s 99th goal for the Five Stripes after the break.
Just a couple of months ago, Atlanta United fans were worrying whether or not the club would even break even on Barco. Now, they’re pleading for him to stick around another year.
Even the most optimistic New York Red Bulls fan would’ve admitted their season was hanging by a thread. Fail to beat Inter Miami on Friday and it was over.
But 22-year-old Omir Fernandez put in a stunning performance in Florida to inspire his side to a much-needed and shock 4-0 win.
Fernandez doubled the Red Bulls’ lead just after the half-hour mark, steaming into the box and heading home after some static Miami defending. But he didn’t stop there, creating no fewer than seven chances on the night and completing three of his five attempted dribbles. Fernandez even did his bit defensively with two tackles and four recoveries.
This could be a season-defining performance for a youngster who has had to be really patient for his minutes in 2021.
The 2021/22 season may be in its infancy but we are already halfway through (well, a little bit over actually) the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Tuesday’s fixtures saw comfortable wins for heavyweight challengers Manchester City and Liverpool, while there were also wins for Premier League duo Brentford and Burnley. But there were some surprise exits too, namely Everton – who crashed out at QPR after losing on penalties.
Wednesday will see Manchester United clash with West Ham at Old Trafford, and there’s another all Premier League tie between Wolves and Tottenham to look forward to.
Here’s a rundown of the results so far, as well as predictions and previews for the remaining ties.
Riyad Mahrez was among the scorers for Manchester City / PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
Manchester City rotated heavily in defence against Wycombe but released the big guns up front in a 6-1 demolition job at the Etihad Stadium.
Brandon Hanlan gave the Chairboys a shock lead after 22 minutes before Pep Guardiola’s side sprung to life after Kevin De Bruyne’s equaliser. Riyad Mahrez bagged a brace, and Phil Foden and Ferran Torres netted one each before young midfielder Cole Palmer put the gloss on the scoreline two minutes from time.
Liverpool were also comfortable winners, overcoming a lacklustre Norwich 3-0 at Carrow Road. Takumi Minamino scored twice for the Reds, either side of a well-taken header from Divock Origi.
Elsewhere, there was a shock at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium as Championship outfit QPR overcame Everton 8-7 on penalties after the two sides had shared four goals between them. Charlie Austin netted a brace for Rangers, with Lucas Digne and Andros Townsend on the scoresheet for the Toffees, before Tom Davies saw his spot kick saved by QPR goalkeeper Seny Dieng.
Jimmy Dunne then netted the winner, sending Asmir Begovic the wrong way to crash his penalty into the top corner.
Everton are out of the Carabao Cup after losing on penalties / Marc Atkins/Getty Images
There was also success for Southampton on penalties (4-2) after a 2-2 draw with Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, as well as Leeds – who overcame Fulham 6-5 in their shootout at Craven Cottage following a goalless draw.
Premier League new boys Watford, who rotated a number of players, were another round three casualty, crashing out 3-1 to Stoke at Vicarage Road after goals from Nick Powell, Sam Clucas and Josh Tymon.
Burnley cruised into round four as Jay Rodriguez scored four goals – his first treble or more in over a decade – in a 4-1 win over Rochdale, while there was even more impressive win for Brentford. Thomas Frank’s side ran out 7-0 victors over Oldham Athletic, spearheaded by another four-goal showing – this time from Marcus Forss. Youna Wissa was also on the scoresheet twice.
Preston are also through after overcoming League One newcomers Cheltenham 3-1 at Deepdale, as are Sunderland – who won the battle of first vs second in the third tier of English football to beat Wigan Athletic 2-0.
Brentford 7-0 Oldham Burnley 4-1 Rochdale Fulham 0-0 Leeds (5-6 pens) Man City 6-1 Wycombe Norwich 0-3 Liverpool Preston 3-1 Cheltenham QPR 2-2 Everton (8-7 pens) Sheffield United 2-2 Southampton (2-4 pens) Watford 1-3 Stoke Wigan 0-2 Sunderland
When is kick off? Wednesday 22 September, 19:30 (BST) Where is the match being played? The Amex What TV channel is it on? BBC 5 Live Final Score (UK) Highlights? Carabao Cup on Quest TV (UK) Referee? Michael Salisbury
Brighton boss Graham Potter will be facing his former side on Wednesday fresh off a somewhat fortuitous victory over Leicester at the weekend.
After a great season last time out, the Swans are stuttering this campaign and Brighton should see them off at home.
Prediction:Brighton 3-0 Swansea City
Leicester had two goals disallowed on Sunday / Robin Jones/Getty Images
When is kick off? Wednesday 22 September, 19:45 (BST) Where is the match being played? The New Den What TV channel is it on? BBC5 Live Final Score (UK) Highlights? Carabao Cup on Quest TV (UK) Referee? Andrew Madley
Millwall dumped Leicester out of the FA Cup in 2017 with Ben Chilwell confiding that he was too scared to take throw-ins in front of the intimidating home crowd after the game.
These days, the Foxes have much more strength in depth so getting the better of their lower-league opponents should be doable.
Prediction: Millwall 1-3 Leicester
When is kick off? Wednesday 22 September, 19:45 (BST) Where is the match being played? Molineux What TV channel is it on? ESPN+ (US) Highlights? Carabao Cup on Quest TV (UK) Referee? Peter Bankes
Just a month removed from their meeting in the Premier League, Wolves and Tottenham face off in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
Spurs already have the albatross of Conference League football around their necks this season, so this is a competition Nuno Espirito Santo could do without. This might give Wolves, who haven’t started the campaign brilliantly, the encouragement they need to win.
Prediction:Wolves 2-1 Tottenham
When is kick off? Wednesday 22 September, 19:45 (BST) Where is the match being played? Old Trafford What TV channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event (UK) Highlights? Carabao Cup on Quest TV (UK) Referee? Jon Moss
West Ham will not have to wait long to get their revenge on Manchester United after the Red Devils subjected them to a 2-1 loss on Sunday.
There was late penalty drama in that one and we think there might be again, with this one set to go all the way to a shootout.
Prediction:Man Utd 1-1 West Ham (Man Utd win on penalties)
When is kick off? Wednesday 22 September, 19:45 (BST) Where is the match being played? Emirates Stadium What TV channel is it on? BBC 5 Live Final Score (UK) Highlights? Carabao Cup on Quest TV (UK) Referee? Jarred Gillett
When Wimbledon fans cobbled together to form a phoenix club in 2002, ties against the likes of Arsenal would have seemed like a pipedream.
Less than two decades later the Dons are set to travel to north London for one of the most glamourous games in their short history. It’s probably not going to go well, though.
Prediction: Arsenal 4-1 AFC Wimbledon
Chelsea look imperious this season / Visionhaus/Getty Images
When is kick off? Wednesday 22 September, 19:45 (BST) Where is the match being played? Stamford Bridge What TV channel is it on? ESPN+ (US) Highlights? Carabao Cup on Quest TV (UK) Referee? Graham Scott
Thomas Tuchel recently revealed his confidence in Chelsea’s ability to compete on multiple front this season. His side’s capacity to do just that will be tested scrupulously on Wednesday when Aston Villa come to town, four days on from a great win over in-form Everton.
Although Villa will make it difficult, the Blues’ fringe players will be desperate to impress and should have enough to get over the line.
Manchester United have built a reputation on their never say die attitude throughout the Premier League era, underpinning a lot of the club’s success over the last 30 years.
The ability to come from behind and turn potential defeats into wins has become a core part of the club’s fabric and various United teams have regularly pulled off impressive comebacks.
Here’s a look at 20 of Manchester United’s best Premier League comebacks…
Nemanja Matic scored Man Utd’s spectacular winner at Selhurst Park / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
United scorers: Chris Smalling (55), Romelu Lukaku (76), Nemanja Matic (90+1)
Having beaten Chelsea a week earlier, United found themselves 2-0 down shortly after half-time against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park in early March 2018. The title race was already over but second place and a highest finish since Sir Alex Ferguson retired was still to play for.
The comeback started with a Chris Smalling header and was completed by a dipping 25-yard effort from Nemanja Matic in stoppage time.
United scorers: Ryan Giggs (46), Andrew Cole (59), Paul Scholes (74), Quinton Fortune (88)
A dominant United moved to within two wins of retaining their Premier League title with a thrilling 4-3 win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium in April 2000.
Boro actually scored first through homegrown hero Andy Campbell, only for United to then score three without reply, including a stunner from Paul Scholes, and even fight off a late comeback.
A young Roy Keane scored a late Manchester derby winner in 1993 / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
United scorers: Eric Cantona (52, 78), Roy Keane (87)
United were reigning Premier League champions in 1993 but went 2-0 down in just over half an hour at Maine Road in the first Manchester derby of the 1993/94 campaign.
Eric Cantona pulled one back after half-time and eventually equalised with just over 10 minutes remaining. Roy Keane, in his debut season with the club, then got a dramatic late winner.
Dimitar Berbatov & Javier Hernandez scored against Blackpool / Alex Livesey/Getty Images
United scorers: Dimitar Berbatov (72, 88), Javier Hernandez (78)
Blackpool were a surprise package in the Premier League in 2010/11 and threatened to stun United during a clash at Bloomfield Road just two weeks after the Tangerines had beaten Liverpool.
United were 2-0 down at half-time and it took a brace from Dimitar Berbatov either side of one from Javier Hernandez, all inside the final 20 minutes, to pull off the comeback win. Hernandez was a game-changer from the bench and United went five points clear.
Alexis Sanchez scored one of his few Man Utd goals against Newcastle / Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
United scorers: Juan Mata (70), Anthony Martial (76), Alexis Sanchez (90)
Speculation on the morning of Newcastle’s visit to Old Trafford in October 2018 was rife that Jose Mourinho would lose his job regardless of the result.
That turned out not to be the case, but things looked bad when Newcastle took a 2-0 lead inside ten minutes. It remained that way until well into the second half, but quick-fire goals from Juan Mata and Anthony Martial set up a platform for a rare Alexis Sanchez winner.
United scorers: Eric Cantona (45), Andrei Kanchelskis (52, 82), Mark Hughes (67)
Blackburn were United’s biggest rivals for a period in the mid-1990s, having finished second in 1993/94 and narrowly winning the Premier League title themselves ahead of the otherwise dominant Red Devils in 1994/95.
United went behind twice in a famous game at Ewood Park in the autumn of 1994, but equalised both times and eventually made a man advantage count late on to secure the win following a first-half red card for Rovers defender Henning Berg.
Edinson Cavani was Man Utd’s hero against Southampton / Robin Jones/Getty Images
United scorers: Bruno Fernandes (60), Edinson Cavani (74, 90+2)
United made a habit of conceding the first goal away from home throughout the 2020/21 season. But against Southampton at St Mary’s they gave themselves an even bigger 2-0 mountain to climb.
Half-time substitute Edinson Cavani proved to be the hero of the day, scoring an equaliser after Bruno Fernandes had pulled one back and going on to secure a stoppage-time winner.
Man Utd avoided an opening day scare against newly promoted Fulham in 2001 / MARTYN HARRISON/Getty Images
United scorers: David Beckham (36), Ruud van Nistelrooy (51, 53)
United came close to being embarrassed by newly-promoted Fulham at Old Trafford on the opening day of the 2001/02 season, with Ruud van Nistelrooy’s brace on his Premier League debut sparing the blushes.
Future United striker Louis Saha put a plucky Fulham side ahead twice either side of a David Beckham free kick, but it was Van Nistelrooy’s quick-fire brace after half-time that proved to be decisive.
Wayne Rooney scored a hat-trick as Man Utd came from behind at Upton Park / Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
United scorers: Wayne Rooney (65, 73, 79), Javier Hernandez (84)
Gunning for a record-breaking 19th league title, United fans must have feared the worst at Upton Park in April 2011 when West Ham were still leading 2-0 with less than half an hour left to play.
Step forward, Wayne Rooney. In 15 second-half minutes, the United talisman erased West Ham’s lead and put the visitors ahead. His first two goals of the day were particular beauties, one a 25-yard free-kick.
United scorers: own goal (18), Cristiano Ronaldo (54, 58), John O’Shea (88)
Arsenal were still reigning Premier League champions in February 2005, having been ‘Invincible’ the season before. Even though United had ended that record the previous October, the Gunners were big favourites to beat a developing side at Highbury.
Arsenal took the lead twice in the first half, but the difference was made by Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored twice in quick succession four days before his 20th birthday. John O’Shea’s late chip to seal it was sublime.
Paul Scholes started the comeback trail against Blackburn / ANDREW YATES/Getty Images
United scorers: Paul Scholes (61), Michael Carrick (72), Park Ji-sung (83), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (90)
76,098 people saw United come from behind against Blackburn at Old Trafford en route to winning the 2006/07 Premier League title, which remains a club record in the modern all-seater era.
The visitors had taken the lead through Matt Derbyshire, but Paul Scholes’ jinking run and finish got United back into the game and a late flurry of goals followed, including Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s last for the club before retiring.
Javier Hernandez was Man Utd’s match winner on Boxing Day 2012 / ANDREW YATES/Getty Images
United scorers: Jonny Evans (25), Patrice Evra (58), Robin van Persie (71), Javier Hernandez (90)
In a pulsating Boxing Day match, United trailed three times against Newcastle at Old Trafford in December 2012, with a 4-3 comeback eventually sending them seven points clear at the top of the table.
Newcastle took the lead on three occasions in the game but were pegged back each time. It wasn’t until the death that Sir Alex Ferguson’s team went in front for the first time, courtesy of Javier Hernandez.
Chris Eagles scored his only Man Utd goal in this game / PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
United scorers: John O’Shea (61), own goal (68), Wayne Rooney (79), Chris Eagles (90+3)
Having gone four years without a Premier League title, United effectively put one hand on the trophy with this win over Everton, going five points clear of back-to-back reigning champions Chelsea with only three games to play.
Everton scored early in both halves, threatening to derail United’s title dreams. But four goals in the final half hour, including an unfortunate own goal from ex-Old Trafford star Phil Neville, turned the game on its head.
An inspired Paul Pogba delayed Man City’s 2017/18 title celebrations / Michael Regan/Getty Images
United scorers: Paul Pogba (53, 55), Chris Smalling (69)
Headlines before a famous Manchester derby in 2018 were dominated by Pep Guardiola’s claims that Paul Pogba had been offered to City only a few months earlier. The Frenchman then played a huge part in United’s win.
A City victory would have meant sealing the Premier League title in record-breaking fashion and it was heading that way when they led 2-0 inside 30 minutes. But Pogba’s quick-fire brace and Chris Smalling’s winner ruined the party.
Paul Scholes scored an impressive hat-trick at St James’ Park / Alex Livesey/Getty Images
United scorers: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (32), Paul Scholes (34, 38, 52), Ryan Giggs (44), Ruud van Nistelrooy (58)
This was the game that knocked Newcastle out of the 2002/03 Premier League title race and put United in the driving seat, which was a position they then never relinquished with five games to go.
Newcastle teenager Jermaine Jenas opened the scoring with a screamer, but six United goals without reply, four of which came in the first half, were the difference. Paul Scholes scored his first career hat-trick.
United scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo (13, 80), Federico Macheda (90+3)
United’s title hopes were hanging in the balance in April 2009, having lost successive games against Liverpool and Fulham and then trailing 2-1 to Aston Villa with only ten minutes to go of what threatened to be a third straight defeat. Liverpool had also gone top of the table before kick-off.
The hero of the day was not Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo, despite his two goals, but unheard of 17-year-old striker Federico Macheda.
David Beckham & Andrew Cole goals saw Man Utd beat Tottenham to win the Premier League in 1999 / Ben Radford/Getty Images
United scorers: David Beckham (42), Andrew Cole (47)
United very famously came from behind to win the Champions League in 1999 and complete an historic treble, but they had already done it to land the first of the three trophies in the Premier League.
United needed to win on the final day to guarantee they would stay ahead of Arsenal, but Tottenham threatened to do their north London rivals a favour by going in front. That was until David Beckham lashed in an equaliser and Andrew Cole scored an iconic winner, lifting the ball over Ian Walker.
United scorers: Steve Bruce (86, 90)
Hunting a first league title in 26 years, United stuttered badly in the spring of 1993 and fell to third in the Premier League table by late March. Victory over rivals Norwich helped, but a defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the following match could have tanked their hopes altogether.
Steve Bruce’s two late headers changed all of that. Not only are the goals an iconic part of Premier League history, but so too are the pitch-side celebrations from Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd.
Man Utd came storming back in the second half / Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
United scorers: Cristiano Ronaldo (56, 68), Wayne Rooney (67, 71), Dimitar Berbatov (79)
Even after the aforementioned win over Aston Villa, Liverpool were still snapping at United’s heels in the 2008/09 Premier League title race and any slip up could have been disastrous.
Tottenham remarkably led 2-0 at half-time at Old Trafford, but United roared into life after the break. All five goals without reply came in the space of just 24 minutes and there were braces for both Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, as well as one against his old club for Dimitar Berbatov.
David Beckham captained Man Utd to a sensational comeback at White Hart Lane / Ben Radford/Getty Images
United scorers: Andrew Cole (46), Laurent Blanc (58), Ruud van Nistelrooy (72), Juan Sebastian Veron (76), David Beckham (87)
United’s biggest and most dramatic comeback win in Premier League history also came against Tottenham, having famously been 3-0 down at half-time at White Hart Lane in the early weeks of the 2001/02 season.
Three new faces all got on the scoresheet in Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Juan Sebastian Veron, the latter two being the club’s record signings at that time, costing £19m and £28m respectively.
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Manchester City avoided a potential scare against Wycombe Wanderers in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night, coming from behind to beat the League One club 6-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Pep Guardiola had named a mixed City XI to start the game, resting most of his usual starters and handing vital minutes to the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Phil Foden after recent injury absences. But the back four was completely unrecognisable, featuring four 18-year-olds.
An utterly dominant City have won this competition in each of the last four seasons, although Brandon Hanlan gave Wycombe a surprise early lead just 22 minutes into the contest.
The holders and reigning Premier League champions managed to get back onto level terms not long after when Foden fed De Bruyne, with City’s quality eventually shining through.
Riyad Mahrez put City ahead in the closing stages of the first half, before turning provider for Foden to extend the lead to 3-1. The England international later got his second assist of the match when he teed up Ferran Torres, while Mahrez added a fifth goal in the closing stages.
19-year-old Cole Palmer rounded off the scoring with his first senior goal for City.
Finley Burns was among four 18-year-old defenders who started for Man City / PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images
Zack Steffen (GK) – 6/10 – Will be disappointed not to have got a clean sheet.
Conrad Egan-Riley (RB) 7/10: Rarely gave the ball away.
Finley Burns (CB) – 6/10 – Coped well in potentially difficult circumstances.
Luke Mbete (CB) – 6/10 – Came away with an assist right at the end.
Joshua Wilson-Esbrand (LB) – 6/10 – Fared well in his 72 minutes.
Kevin De Bruyne captained a young Man City side / Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Kevin De Bruyne (CM) – 7/10 – Got important minutes under his belt and led well. Scored the first goal that got City into their stride.
Romeo Lavia (CM) – 6/10 – Booked in the first half.
Phil Foden (CM) – 8/10 – Two assists and a goal was a fine way to mark his first start of the season.
Ferran Torres scored again / Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Riyad Mahrez (RW) – 8/10 – Scored in the closing stages of each half and bagged an assist.
Ferran Torres (ST) – 7/10 – Got his third goal of the season and was substituted almost immediately afterwards with the job done.
Raheem Sterling (LW) – 7/10 – Provided an assist and had chances of his own, but didn’t score.
Cole Palmer scored off the bench / Gareth Copley/Getty Images
Cole Palmer (ST) – 7/10 – A first senior goal made this a night to remember for the teenager.
James Mcatee (LB) – 6/10 – Slotted in at the back for the final 20 minutes.
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Two goals in three second-half minutes saw Inter come from behind to prevail 3-1 over a spirited Fiorentina in Serie A on Tuesday night.
Fiorentina started the game on the front foot, forcing Samir Begovic into three fine saves in the opening quarter of an hour. First, Nicolas Gonzalez’s close-range effort was smothered before both Dusan Vlahovic and Cristiano Biraghi saw rasping efforts tipped around the post.
The Viola continued to probe and Alfred Duncan almost opened the scoring in spectacular fashion on 21 minutes, unleashing an absolute rocket from all of 35 yards that soared just over the upright.
Vincenzo Italiano’s side did eventually make their early dominance pay midway through the half. In an ongoing battle, Gonzalez beat Milan Skriniar in the air in the left channel before charging forward and laying the ball on a plate for Ricardo Sottil to tap it in at the back post.
Inter thought they were level shortly before the break through an own goal, but Matija Nastasic had his blushes spared as Ivan Perisic was adjudged to have been offside when he was slipped through to produce the cross that the Serb diverted beyond his own goalkeeper.
Despite the hosts’ dominant first half, Inter were level early in the second period. Wing-back Matteo Darmian ghosted forward and was found by Nicolo Barella in the box before blasting home from the angle.
Inter snatched a lead three minutes later as Edin Dzeko rose to meet a Hakan Calhanoglu corner in the centre of the penalty area and nodded it beyond Bartlomiej Dragowski – his bread and butter.
A hot-headed Gonzalez was then sent off in the late stages. First he was booked for aggressively demanding a yellow card for Alessandro Bastoni after having his shirt pulled, before sarcastically applauding the referee and being given his marching orders.
Inter maintained the lead comfortably thereafter and doubled it with three minutes remaining. Roberto Gagliardini found Perisic in acres of space in the penalty area and he rolled it into half-empty net to seal the win and send the visitors top of Serie A.
Here’s how the Inter players rated…
De Vrij battles with Vlahovic / Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
Samir Handanovic (GK) – 8/10 – Forced into three good early saves, with the second from Vlahovic particularly impressive. No chance for the opener.
Milan Skriniar (CB) – 6/10 – Good battle with Gonzalez – one in which he was unfortunate to be booked early. Beaten in the air by the Argentine in the build-up to the opener.
Stefan De Vrij (CB) – 7/10 – Given a tough time by Vlahovic as the central centre-back. Untroubled in the second half – the most solid of the defenders.
Alessandro Bastoni (CB) – 6/10 – Didn’t have much to do, but occasionally sloppy in possession.
Darmian wheels away to celebrate / Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images
Matteo Darmian (RWB) – 7/10 – Hardly involved before hammering in an equaliser. Booked and subbed shortly after.
Nicolo Barella (CM) – 6/10 – Not his usual dominant self in the first period. Cute pass to assist Darmian. Subbed soon after.
Marcelo Brozovic (CM) – 7/10 – Struggled to get a hold of the midfield in the early exchanges. Sloppily gave it away minutes into the second half as Vlahovic went close. Recovered well and saw a late effort saved.
Hakan Calhanoglu (AM) – 7/10 – Stung the keeper’s fingertips from a free kick in an otherwise anonymous first half. Slipped to send a half-chance high and wide. Excellent corner for a simple header for Dzeko to win it. Booked and subbed.
Ivan Perisic (LWB) – 7/10 – Showed he’s not a defender, sleeping as Sottil stole in to tap home at the back post. Offside as he forced an own goal from Nastasic. Tapped in to make it 3-1 late on.
Dzeko heads home / ANDREAS SOLARO/Getty Images
Edin Dzeko (ST) – 7/10 – Some nice link-up with his strike partner, but kept at arm’s length by the hosts in the first 45. Soared to nod home for 2-1 – an easy goal for a striker of his quality. Subbed.
Lautaro Martinez (ST) – 6/10 – Didn’t see enough of the ball in the first period, but looked threatening when he did. Missed a gilt-edged chance to make it 3-1 from the edge of the six-yard box. Subbed.
Denzel Dumfries (RWB) – 7/10 – Typically marauding.