GENOA - It’s never easy to come up against sides fighting for survival and even harder still when there are only three games left in the season. Genoa came into the game following two crucial wins in the battle to avoid the drop, and those results helped to lift their mood and give them momentum. Inter didn’t slip up though in what was a hard-fought match, controlling much of the game before netting two late on after a first-half opener. Lukaku broke the deadlock in the opening period with a header before Sanchez doubled the lead in the 83rd minute. Lukaku then moved up to 23 Serie A goals with his 93rd-minute strike. The win sends Inter up to second ahead of the two upcoming matches against Napoli and Atalanta.
There were six changes in the starting line-up compared to the previous draw with Fiorentina, and Conte’s changes paid off early on. Genoa were eager to get a big result in their quest to stay up after two big wins and they started the match aggressively as a result. They couldn’t capitalise, however, and the early pressure fizzled out as Inter were able to slowly get up the pitch. Conte’s side started to find gaps with their build-up play, often with Eriksen at the heart of it as he dictated the play around the final third. The pressure caused issues for Genoa. In the 22nd minute, a move on the right between Eriksen and Lukaku set Brozovic up for a shot. In the 30th minute, the Dane fired over from inside the box. The goal was soon to follow. Biraghi crossed with his right foot from the left, and Lukaku was there to nod in at the far post. Genoa weren’t discouraged by conceding and continued to play with the same attitude throughout the match. Jagiello went closest for the hosts with a free kick late in the first half: Handanovic was beaten, but it went just wide of the post.
The second half started at a slower pace, although Moses, who was one of the best performers on the pitch, was doing his very best to spark the game into life down the right flank. In defence, Ranocchia and co. were protecting Handanovic’s goal well, with the Nerazzurri captain enjoying a quiet afternoon between the sticks. A flurry of substitutions then led to an increase in tempo as chances started being created again. In the 70th minute, Inter threatened down the right once more through Moses, whose low cross was somehow cleared for a corner by Ankersen with Borja Valero ready to tap into the net. It came as no surprise that the Nigerian winger was involved in the goal which doubled Inter’s lead, nor was the goalscorer a surprise name: Moses laid it on a plate for Sanchez, whose right-footed volley came off the underside of the bar and ended in the net.
In the 93rd minute, Lukaku displayed all of his power and technical ability as he scored a wonderful third. This time, he accelerated up the pitch, skipped past Romero in the box and found the net with expert precision, his 23rd goal of the Serie A season. He is now third on the list when it comes to the most goals scored by an Inter player in their first season at the Club, with the Belgian striker having surpassed the tallies of Diego Milito and Amedeo Amadei today (Nyers on 26 and Ronaldo on 25 are still ahead of him).
The Nerazzurri’s win in Genoa was their twelfth victory on the road this season: the only other time that Inter achieved this feat was in the 2006/07 campaign. These were three points that lifted Conte’s team to third.
GENOA 0-3 INTER
GENOA (3-5-2): 1 Perin; 5 Goldaniga, 17 Romero, 2 Zapata; 32 Ankersen (18 Ghiglione 76'), 85 Behrami (20 Schöne 59'), 65 Rovella (23 Destro 76'), 15 Jagiello, 4 Criscito; 30 Favilli (19 Pandev 70'), 99 Pinamonti.
Substitutes: 13 Ichazo, 22 Marchetti, 3 Barreca, 14 Biraschi, 16 Eriksson, 24 Bianchi, 29 Cassata, 55 Masiello.
Coach: Davide Nicola.
INTER (3-4-1-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar (33 D'Ambrosio 64'), 13 Ranocchia, 2 Godin; 11 Moses (87 Candreva 84'), 5 Gagliardini, 77 Brozovic, 34 Biraghi (15 Young 84'); 24 Eriksen (20 Borja Valero 64'); 9 Lukaku, 10 Lautaro (7 Sanchez 64').
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 6 de Vrij, 30 Esposito, 31 Pirola, 32 Agoumé, 95 Bastoni.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
Goalscorers: 34' Lukaku (I), 83' Sanchez (I), 93' Lukaku (I)
Bookings: Criscito (G), Gagliardini (I), Romero (G), Ranocchia (I), Handanovic (I)
Added time: 1' - 3'.
Assistants: Preti, Manganelli.
Fourth Official: Giua.
VAR and Assistant VAR: Irrati, Liberti.