Crotone 2 Inter 1: Falcinelli double downs disappointing Nerazzurri

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Diego Falcinelli netted twice to help Crotone to a 2-1 shock win over Inter at the Ezio Scida and revive their chances of Serie A survival while dealing a hammer blow to the Nerazzurri's hopes of Champions League qualification.

Falcinelli opened the scoring in the 18th minute when he converted a penalty, before doubling his tally just minutes later with a delicate finish, with Danilo D'Ambrosio's goal in the second half eventually proving only a consolation for Inter.

Inter had collected just one point from their previous two games but could afford to be confident of victory this time around having won 3-0 in the reverse fixture back in November.

However the disappointing performance in Calabria keeps them nine points adrift of third-placed Napoli, who face Lazio later on Sunday.

Crotone ended their eight-game winless streak by beating Chievo last week, and their second straight success moves Davide Nicola's men within three points safety with seven games left.

Crotone started the match the better of the two sides and went close to opening the scoring after just two minutes, Aleandro Rosi latching onto Falcinelli’s throughball only to be denied by goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

The home side continued to impress early on and they eventually got their goal in the 18th minute. Referee Marco Guida pointed to the spot after Gary Medel handled the ball inside his own area and Falcinelli found the bottom-left corner from 12 yards.

It was all Crotone in the opening stages and Falcinelli made it two in the 22nd minute with a superb finish, chipping the ball over Handanovic from a difficult angle after being sent clean through on goal by Marcello Trotta.

Marcus Rohden nearly made it three in the closing stages of the first half following a good move down the left, but the midfielder was unfortunate to see his powerful shot cleared off the line by Miranda.

Inter somewhat improved after the break and Ivan Perisic almost pulled one back in the 58th minute, blasting a volley narrowly wide of the goal after beating his marker to a cross from the right.

And the Nerazzurri did find a way back into the game when D'Ambrosio tapped home from close range midway through the second half after Geoffrey Kondogbia had headed Ever Banega's corner into his path.

Stefano Pioli's men pushed hard for an equaliser and they were unfortunate not to salvage a draw when Eder hit the upright with a low shot from outside the box as Crotone clung on for a vital win.