MILAN - The Nerazzurri fans have been given the chance to open their Christmas presents early. Inter put in a magnificent display in the last match of 2019, scoring four crucial goals as the usual stars stepped up along with the promising youngsters. Inter swept Genoa aside 4-0 to move top at Christmas on 42 points. Lukaku scored another brace, Esposito came up with his first Serie A goal and Gagliardini once against found the net against Genoa. This side has belief and will compete all the way.
Without Lautaro and Brozovic for the first time this season, Conte opted for a 3-5-2 formation with Borja Valero as a playmaker while Esposito made his first Serie A start alongside Lukaku. Genoa switched things up compared to their most recent matches with Thiago Motta going for a fluid 4-3-1-2. Agudelo’s advance position in midfield was meant to suffocate Borja Vaalero while Ghiglione was in a very mobile role where he could step up from midfield with Criscito playing more conservatively on the other flank. In the early exchanges, the match got off to a slow start and there wasn’t much in the way of goalmouth action. The Nerazzurri’s first attempts lacked conviction as Esposito, Biraghi and Gagliardini called Radu into action but the saves he had to make were simple ones while the visitors weren’t able to test Handanovic.
It was after half an hour that Inter really came to life, practically killing the game off in just two minutes. The Nerazzurri were bossing possession, and Candreva did brilliantly to place his cross right onto Lukaku’s head, our number 9 duly directing it goalwards for the opener in the 31st minute. Just seconds later, Inter were back in the opposition’s box, this time Gagliardini smashing home a second with the help of a slight deflection off Romero. This was nothing new for Roberto after two braces against this very opponent last season, our midfielder now having scored five of his nine Serie A goals against the Rossoblù.
This two-goal lead helped Inter to cruise to victory throughout the rest of the game, barely troubled at any point by the Genoa strike force. In fact, it was Genoa who looked constantly vulnerable to the counterattack. Lukaku nearly sealed things as a defensive error gifted him a chance, but Radu was quick to close down the shot and prevent a third. Genoa looked a side void of ideas or energy with Inter in complete control, the away team’s first effort on target coming from Sanabria after an hour of play.
Then came the knockout blow from the Nerazzurri, falling to Esposito for his first goal in Serie A. Who knows how many times he would have dreamt of this moment, and it arrived for him aged just 17 years and 172 days. Gagliardini was brought down by Agudelo, Lukaku handed the ball to our young centre forward, and he stepped up and made no mistake in smashing the ball home for Inter’s third. With this goal, Esposito entered into the history books as the second youngest player in Inter’s history to score in Serie A, behind only Mario Corso. The 57,000 fans in San Siro didn’t even have time to cheer this goal as they were shortly silenced by Lukaku’s brilliance for number four. Our star signing skipped past one with a step over and rocketed his shot into the top left corner, his 12th in the league this season to place the cherry on top of a stunning Inter performance.
Thus ended 2019 with Inter on 42 points, the Nerazzurri joint top of the table with Juventus. The win over Genoa, convincing and completely deserved, allows Antonio Conte’s side to leave their fans with the perfect present to round off the year. You can be sure that the Nerazzurri will be more than ready to go again in January. Forever and always, #ForzaInter!
INTER 4-0 GENOA
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 87 Candreva (19 Lazaro 74'), 8 Vecino, 20 Borja Valero, 5 Gagliardini (12 Sensi 72'), 34 Biraghi (21 Dimarco 78'); 30 Esposito, 9 Lukaku.
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 2 Godin, 13 Ranocchia, 16 Politano, 32 Agoumé, 33 D'Ambrosio.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
GENOA (4-3-1-2): 97 Radu; 18 Ghiglione, 14 Biraschi, 17 Romero, 4 Criscito; 29 Cassata, 21 Radovanovic, 15 Jagiello (65 Rovella 63'); 28 Agudelo; 9 Sanabria (56 Cleonise 75'), 99 Pinamonti (30 Favilli 72').
Substitutes: 22 Marchetti, 93 Jandrei, 5 Goldaniga, 13 El Yamiq, 20 Schöne, 27 Sturaro, 32 Ankersen, 33 Pajac.
Coach: Thiago Motta.
Scorers: 31' Lukaku (I), 32' Gagliardini (I), 64' pen. Esposito (I), 71' Lukaku (I).
Bookings: Cassata (G), Bastoni (I), Romero (G), Agudelo (G), Favilli (G).
Added time: -, -.
Assistants: Colarossi and Gori.
Fourth official: Abbattista.
VAR and Assistant VAR: Di Bello, De Meo.