MILAN, Italy (Kyodo) Japan defender Yuto Nagatomo helped Inter Milan keep a clean sheet in his first 90-minute shift as the club world champion ground out a fortuitous 1-0 win over Cagliari in Serie A on Saturday.

Inter closed the gap on leader AC Milan to two points but was made to work hard for the victory, which came courtesy of a Houssine Kharja shot that was deflected in by Michele Canin in the seventh minute at the San Siro.

Nagatomo was kept busy as Cagliari created the best chances but felt he was gradually finding his feet since joining his new club on loan from Cesena just before the close of the transfer window.

“I am combining better with my teammates with each game,” said Nagatomo, who made his first start against Fiorentina on Wednesday and now has four games under his belt.

“I have to communicate better with my teammates, understand their style of play and the team’s tactics. It’s getting better with each match but there is still plenty of work for me to do.”

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