MILAN: Alexis Sanchez produced an imposing performance to inspire Inter Milan to a 6-0 win over Serie A strugglers Brescia at San Siro yesterday.
Sanchez scored for Inter for only the second time but helped set up other goals as they consolidated third place in Serie A on 64 points and moved closer to a berth in next season’s Champions League.
Brescia slipped to the bottom of the table on 18 points, eight adrift of the safety zone, and will need a dramatic turnaround in fortunes in their remaining nine games if they are to avoid an immediate return to Serie B.
Ashley Young gave Inter a fifth-minute lead before Sanchez, showing glimpses of old form, converted a 20th-minute penalty to double their advantage.
Danilo D’Ambrosio made it 3-0 on the stroke of halftime with Roberto Gagliardini, Christian Eriksen and Antonio Candreva adding to the score in the second half.
The 31-year-old Sanchez, on loan at Inter from Manchester United, began the move that led to Young’s opener, which was a half-volleyed finish from a Victor Moses cross.
Sanchez netted a spotkick after Moses had been bundled over for his second Inter goal, nine months after his first against Sampdoria in late September.
D’Ambrosio started and finished the move for the third in the 45th minute, switching the ball wide to Young and then continuing his run to meet a cross to the back post, which he powerfully headed home.
Gagliardini’s 53rd-minute goal came from a Sanchez free kick as he also stormed into the Brescia box to head home.
Inter kept up relentless pressure on their Lombardy rivals, bringing on both Romelu Lukaku and Eriksen for the last 20 minutes.
Lukaku’s shot in the 83rd minute was spilled by Brescia goalkeeper Jesse Joronen and Eriksen followed up to scramble the ball over the line for his first league goal since moving from Tottenham Hotspur in January.
Substitute Candreva, who had earlier crashed an effort against the crossbar, finished the rout with a stinging shot two minutes from fulltime.
Meanwhile, Cagliari forward Giovanni Simeone scored for the fourth game in a row to give his side a 1-1 draw at Bologna, keeping the two sides locked together in the Serie A midtable.
Bologna forward Musa Barrow put the hosts ahead in first-half stoppage time. The Gambian ran through the Cagliari defence and beat keeper Alessio Cragno at his near post.
The Sardinians levelled straight after the restart when Radja Nainggolan fired a shot across the face of goal and Simeone turned the ball in from close range.
Cagliari stayed 10th with 39 points, one point and one place ahead of their opponents. Both teams still have a chance of qualifying for the Europa League.