Federico Dimarco scored the only goal as Inter Milan continued their perfect start to the Serie A season with a 1-0 win at basement club Empoli on Sunday.
Simone Inzaghi’s side shifted gear after a hard-fought first half to see off a team which fired its coach last week after a seven-goal thrashing by Roma.
Dimarco confirmed Inter’s domestic domination with a superb half-volley into the left corner six minutes after the break.
France international Marcus Thuram was denied a second by the crossbar after 77 minutes before being substituted by Chilean Alexis Sanchez who made his Serie A return after spending last season in Marseille.
“It’s an important victory, it wasn’t easy, but it allows us to send a message to the other teams,” said Dimarco.
“We had to wait until the second period to gain the upper hand, but we managed this match well, with the right approach,” added Inzaghi.
“It’s only the fifth round, we know that everything can change quickly in football, but I am satisfied with my players, with their mental attitude.”
Inter, the 2021 champions, are the only team not to concede a point so far, and have three more than second-placed rivals AC Milan who beat Verona 1-0 on Saturday.
Juventus are already five points adrift in fourth after a 4-2 defeat at 11th-placed Sassuolo.
Inter next play Sassuolo midweek but without Austrian striker Marko Arnautovic who pulled up with a “serious injury” to his left thigh, the club announced.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)