Super Eagles of Nigeria central defender William Troost-Ekong was unavailable for Udinese in the Italian Serie A on Saturday.
Troost-Ekong featured in Super Eagles’ entertaining 2-2 draw with Ukraine on Tuesday night.
Inter made it three wins out of three thanks to Stefano Sensi’s header, but it was an uninspired performance after Rodrigo De Paul’s foolish red card for Udinese.
The Friulani had De Paul supporting Kevin Lasagna, with Watford loaner Ken Sema on the left flank, but William Troost-Ekong was unavailable.
Inter had kept three consecutive clean sheets with Udinese going into this game.
Matteo Politano was tested in a new more advanced role and within four minutes his fierce snapshot had bounced off the base of the far post.
Sensi’s ferocious volley was acrobatically palmed out from under the bar by Juan Musso. A free kick was knocked down for Walace to test Samir Handanovic and Nicolò Barella was booked for a lunge on De Paul.
It was a very even match, but Udinese shot themselves in the foot with a moment of utter madness.
On 35 minutes, Antonio Candreva shouted at De Paul and wagged a finger in his face, but the Argentine responded with a slap on the back of the head. Candreva made the most of it and in the age of VAR, that was incredibly stupid, resulting in a red card for Udinese’s best player.
Politano drilled a free kick under the wall, with Musso pushing it round the post, but this situation just prompted Udinese to double down on their already defensive approach.
Inter broke the deadlock just before half-time with Sensi again on target. The Italy international got in front of Rodrigo Becao for a well-taken glancing header on Diego Godin’s cross from the right, turning it under the bar from close range.