Internazionale leapt ahead to fight for a potential Champions League spot as the Milan team made easy work of Atalanta with two hat-tricks to win with a 7-1 score.
Mauro Icardi, captain for Inter, scored his goals between the 17th and 26th minutes — including a panenka, a chipped penalty. It was was the earliest for Inter in Serie A since Benito Lorenzi’s treble in the opening 18 minutes in 1947.
His fellow Argentine Banega scored twice in quick succession to make it 5-0 after 34 minutes.
Remo Freuler pulled one back for Atalanta before the break, but Roberto Gagliardini netted for Inter and Banega scored a 25-yard free-kick to complete his treble.
Inter then overtook Atalanta to move into fourth place in the league with the victory.
The coach Stefano Pioli hailed as an “exceptional” Inter performance.
“This was an exceptional performance where everything we practised worked perfectly,” the coach said. “It was a game of a high level and we did well to make it look easy, because Atalanta are a tough opponent and had conceded very few goals until now.”
“Inter want to fight every game with the belief that we can win it, but clearly there are some very experienced and talented sides ahead of us in the table and we are trailing.
“It was a good result, but what really counts is our position in the table and that means the next match is always the most important.It’s right to praise individuals, but today I want to just compliment the entire team, as we played with hunger and determination.”