Mauro Icardi struck his 50th goal in 100 Serie A appearances as Inter Milan kept their outside Champions League hopes alive with a cagey but welcome 1-0 win over 10-man Frosinone on Saturday.Inter are one of several teams in contention for the league’s third and last Champions League qualifying spot and their 17th win of the season moved them up to fourth. They sit five points behind third-placed Roma ahead of the remaining weekend fixtures.
With Inter collecting only three points from their last six away games, relegation-haunted Frosinone had plenty of reason to believe they could cause an upset.
But Roberto Mancini’s visitors created the lion’s share of the chances in a one-sided first half, although they were unlucky to escape with the win after Frosinone hit the woodwork twice after the interval.
A deflected Alex Telles cross squirmed inches wide of the far post for Inter early on, when Jonathan Biabiany turned over under pressure.
Stevan Jovetic made a rare start for Inter and the Montenegrin striker was only denied the tap-in from Ivan Perisic’s cross-shot when ‘keeper Nicola Leali quickly smothered the rebound.
At the other end, Alessandro Frara’s low volley whistled just wide as the hosts enjoyed their first chance of the game just before the half hour.
But Inter were soon threatening again. When Biabiany’s angled drive arrived at the far post, Perisic only just missed contact as he slid in late.
Luca Paganini’s diving header just after the hour was the first real chance of the second half and Inter ‘keeper Samir Handanovic was relieved to see it hit the post and spin away to safety.
Inter went back on the goals hunt, Perisic firing a volley just wide of the far post from the left corner of the area soon after.
But the visitors survived another scare when Daniel Pavlovic’s free-kick curled over the wall to come off the crossbar.
Inter finally broke the deadlock on 74 minutes, Icardi driving the ball out wide to Perisic then rising to meet the Croatian’s delivery to send his header over Leali from eight yards.
Minutes later Jovetic missed the chance to wrap up the points when he curled just over from the edge of the area.
Inter were boosted when erratic Leonardo Blanchard saw red for a studs-up challenge on Jovetic, barely 10 minutes after receiving a first caution for a challenge on Icardi.
Nevertheless, the hosts pressed for a late leveller and were unlucky when Daniel Ciofani’s low drive trickled just wide of the far post with Handanovic at full stretch.
The result left Frosinone second from bottom, but just one point from safety.
League leaders Juventus are away at AC Milan in Saturday’s late game when the champions will look to stretch their advantage over second-placed Napoli to nine points.
Napoli host basement side Verona on Sunday.