The Nerazzurri were without Matteo Darmian, Stefan de Vrij, Andrea Ranocchia, Aleksandar Kolarov and late addition Alessandro Bastoni, while Edin Dzeko and Nicolò Barella were rested. Spezia had Emmanuel Gyasi and Daniele Verde back, but Kevin Agudelo and Leo Sena still absent.
Inter took a while to get going, Tucu Correa scuffing a finish straight at the goalkeeper and Lautaro Martinez dragging another just wide, while Denzel Dumfries stung Ivan Provedel’s gloves.
The pressure finally paid off with a well-worked move, as Danilo D’Ambrosio rolled across from the right, Lautaro Martinez’s back-heel flick set up Roberto Gagliardini to sweep in from the edge of the box.
Kiwior made a crucial interception to deflect Correa’s attempt away from goal from close range, but Samir Handanovic needed a sensational one-handed reaction save from Kelvin Amian’s header on a corner, getting down so quickly from seven yards to palm it off the line.
Inter came out fighting after the restart, Correa’s rocket bouncing off the underside of the crossbar and moments later Calhanoglu saw his equally ferocious strike beaten away by Provedel.
Lautaro Martinez flicked the ball over his head with a ‘sombrero’ and then smashed the shot straight at Kiwior, whose arm was raised and did not have time to get out of the way. The Argentina international converted the penalty himself into the near bottom corner.
Provedel denied Calhanoglu after a give-and-go with Lautaro Martinez, while Ivan Perisic saw his free header go over from five yards and Provedel used his legs to parry a scuffed Arturo Vidal effort.
Inter 2-0 Spezia
Gagliardini 36 (I), Lautaro Martinez pen 58 (I)