The Nerazzurri knew that Juventus had been held 2-2 by Sassuolo earlier, so a win would put them top. It also makes this the club’s best ever start to a Serie A season, as they had never previously won 12 of their opening 14 games.
Stefano Sensi, Nicolò Barella and Alexis Sanchez were still out injured, but Valentino Lazaro was moved over to the left. SPAL missed Federico Di Francesco, Marco D’Alessandro, Mohamed Fares and suspended Simone Missiroli.
It was a struggle to start with, but Inter took the lead with their first real chance. Mirko Valdifiori was caught in possession, Lautaro Martinez sprinted to the edge of the box and his snooker shot of a finish went through Igor’s legs into the far bottom corner.
Francesco Vicari made a decisive block on Romelu Lukaku and Etrit Berisha parried Marcelo Brozovic’s effort, but Andrea Petagna was left with a large cut on his cheekbone after an accidental collision with Stefan de Vrij’s arm.
Inter doubled their lead just before half-time, as Antonio Candreva whipped in a cross from the right and Lautaro Martinez made the run from deep, ghosting between defenders for a free header.
Gabriel Strefezza had been in doubt for this match and limped off just before half-time. SPAL got one back with their first shot on target, as Mattia Valoti went on a surprising mazy run, riding one tackle, squirming between defenders and his slightly scuffed finish rolled into the far bottom corner.
Alessandro Murgia failed to make the most of a defensive error, but at the other end Berisha beat Lautaro Martinez’s header off the line.
Lukaku set up Candreva for an angled drive, forcing Berisha into a tricky low save, then the Belgian also sent Lautaro Martinez clear, but he hesitated and Berisha managed to make a tackle with his outstretched boot, one-on-one.
However, SPAL had a huge opportunity when Petagna knocked on a Valoti cross for unmarked Nenad Tomovic, who hit a fresh-air volley from 11 yards.
It remained surprisingly open, Matias Vecino forcing a tough save from distance and Bosko Jankovic drilling just wide.