MILAN – Getting a taste for it and not stopping. Continuing to run at speed and comfortably overcoming the hurdles in the way. Following their Derby success last week, Inter recorded their second consecutive 3-0 victory this afternoon and their fifth successive win in Serie A, moving up to 56 points in Serie A in the process. After Lukaku had broken the deadlock after just 32 seconds, Darmian and Sanchez sealed Inter’s latest success. Another excellent performance, another match where the Nerazzurri’s team spirit was very much on display. Genoa never really threatened at San Siro, with Inter completely dominating proceedings.
The desire to improve often provides the fuel for the whole group. And while Romelu Lukaku isn’t playing to surpass personal records, he almost broke his own one today. In Benevento at the start of the season, he found the net after 28 seconds: Inter’s fastest goal since the 2004/05 campaign. Today at San Siro, he just missed out on bettering that time as he fired past Perin with 32 seconds on the clock.
This is how Inter vs. Genoa began on a crisp, sunny day at the Meazza. On the pitch for Antonio Conte’s Nerazzurri were the same players that had started the Derby, with one exception: Darmian replaced the suspended Hakimi. Ballardini, meanwhile, opted to make six changes for this afternoon’s clash. Ready, set, goal. Barella won the ball back, Lukaku played a give-and-go with Lautaro, and the Belgian then produced an angled drive that went through Zapata’s legs and finished in the far bottom corner.
The best way to start the match, the most striking way to show Genoa that Inter meant business. And what’s more, the Nerazzurri carried on with great determination, working hard to make it two. Conte’s side were precise in their build-up play, had clear ideas and looked solid. The match statistics at the end of the first half would read 12 shots, a record in the opening 45 minutes of play for Inter in Serie A this season. A half which Inter dominated, driven by Lautaro’s great energy and Darmian’s relentless contribution to offensive manoeuvres, plus the continuous movements of Eriksen and Barella. Inter filled the area, passed it around at great speed and forced Perin to make numerous saves. Darmian came very close to a goal with a great run, with the Nerazzurri making use of the right wing in particular. An attack on the right also led to Barella curling a left-footed effort onto the bar. There was then an acrobatic attempt by Lautaro, while Lukaku continued to worry Perin with his tremendous power. Genoa only troubled Handanovic once following a scramble from a corner.
This gives the measure of a truly one-sided first half. The second half, on the other hand, began and developed at a less dizzying pace by Inter. However, Genoa weren’t really progressing up the pitch. so Inter settled on quieter tempo, managing the ball, avoiding risks, but struggling to be aggressive and create opportunities.
Choosing the moments in which to strike, and delivering the final blow, is one of the skills necessary to keep a pace similar to that of the Nerazzurri at this stage of the season. And then, in the 69th minute, despite not enjoying their best spell of the game, Inter struck a decisive blow to Genoa, killing off the match. Lukaku used his shoulder to see off Onguene, after which Darmian produced an exquisite finish, leaving Perin with no chance.
The 2-0 scoreline slowed down Genoa’s attempts to get back into the game after they’d looked to pick up the pace in attack with their substitutions. Alexis’s entry for an extraordinary but tired Lautaro helped breath fresh life into the Nerazzurri attack. The Chilean made an instant impact in the 77th minute, pouncing on the ball and getting the better of Perin after the goalkeeper had denied Lukaku. The Nerazzurri almost bagged a fourth late on, but the visiting shot-stopper, who was Genoa’s best player throughout the match, produced a brilliant stop to keep out D’Ambrosio’s attempt.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 de Vrij, 95 Bastoni; 36 Darmian (33 D'Ambrosio 85'), 23 Barella (22 Vidal 85'), 77 Brozovic (5 Gagliardini 76'), 24 Eriksen, 14 Perisic (15 Young 85'); 9 Lukaku, 10 Lautaro (7 Sanchez 76').
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 97 Radu, 8 Vecino, 11 Kolarov, 13 Ranocchia, 99 Pinamonti.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
GENOA (3-5-2): 1 Perin; 5 Goldaniga, 21 Radovanovic (25 Onguene 46'), 2 Zapata; 18 Ghiglione (61 Shomurodov 62'), 24 Melegoni (17 Portanova 71'), 65 Rovella, 20 Strootman (21 Behrami 46'), 99 Czyborra; 9 Scamacca (19 Pandev 62'), 37 Pjaca.
Substitutes: 22 Marchetti, 4 Criscito, 16 Zajc, 23 Destro, 47 Badelj, 55 Masiello, 77 Zappacosta.
Coach: Davide Ballardini.
Goalscorers: 1' Lukaku (I), 69' Darmian (I), 77' Sanchez (I)
Bookings: Zapata (G), Strootman (G)
Added time: 1' - 3'.
Assistants: Del Giovane, Rossi.
Fourth Official: Abbattista.
VAR Assistant: Vivenzi.