Internazionale down Palermo

Internazionale kept their slim Champions League hopes alive with a routine 3-1 victory over Serie A strugglers Palermo at the San Siro on Sunday night.

Roberto Mancini’s side got off the a flying start when Adem Ljajic opened the scoring on 11 minutes before Mauro Icardi doubled their lead 12 minutes later.

Franco Vazquez halved the deficit just before half-time to give the visitors hope of salvaging something from the match, but Ivan Perisic struck again for Inter early in the second half to secure the win, which took them within five points of the top-three in fifth place.

The Nerazzurri made a bright start on home soil and went in front with their first attack on 11 minutes as Ljajic was played into space by Perisic and beat visiting goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino with a dipping shot from 20 yards out.

They survived a scare soon afterwards when Geoffrey Kondogbia’s error almost presented Ivalyo Chochev with an equaliser, but Inter responded to go two goals up on 23 minutes.

Rodrigo Palacio raced away down the right flank before sending in a cross that Icardi flicked beyond Sorrentino from six yards out after getting in front of his marker.

However, the Rosanero managed to find a reply on the stroke of half-time, with Vazquez firing home under the crossbar from 12 yards out after being picked out by Andrea Rispoli.

The hosts would hit back just nine minutes into the second half, though, to ease fears of another collapse, as has plagued them since the turn of the year.

Palacio was the provider once again with a cross from the right that Perisic met with a flying header from six yards out to beat Sorrentino and restore Inter’s two-goal cushion.

Giuseppe Iachini’s men came close to pulling another one back in the closing stages when Vazquez teed up Uros Djurdjevic at the near post, but his shot was expertly blocked by home goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo at close range.