MILAN - They could have won by an even bigger margin but in the end Inter had to settle for "only" a 4-1 victory, a repeat of the scoreline from the reverse fixture played earlier in the season.
With Daniel Bessa out through suspension, Stramaccioni went with Roberto Candido in the hole behind Samuele Longo in what is now a standard 4-4-1-1 formation. 18-year-old goalkeeper Andrea Sala made his Nerazzurri debut between the sticks.
The game was one-way traffic from the off and within 20 minutes Inter were in front: a beautifully orchestrated one-touch passing move involving Duncan, Alborno and Candido culminated in Samuele Longo's low drive. It was Longo's fifth league goal of the season and he has now scored in each of his last three games (Udinese, PSV, Cittadella). The striker doubled the lead soon after the interval to put his team in the driving seat, then Duncan added a third when he converted a penalty won by Candido. Dallavalle pulled it back to 3-1 before Francesco Forte opened his league account late on to round off the scoring.
It was a thoroughly convincing performance by the whole team, with the defence and midfield shutting out Cittadella in impressive fashion: the opposition's only decent chance was the counter-attack from which they scored their consolation goal.
The next match for Stramaccioni's team is on Wednesday 18 January, when they host Varese in the rearranged Week 4 fixture.
Inter 4-1 Cittadella (HT: 2-1)
Scorers: Longo 20 and 47', Duncan 52, Dallavalle 63, Forte 78.
Inter (4-4-1-1): 1 Sala; 2 Pecorini (14 Giannetti, 79), 4 Kysela, 5 Bianchetti, 3 Mbaye; 8 Romanò (16 Terrani, 60), 11 Crisetig, 6 Duncan, 7 Alborno; 10 Candido; 9 Longo (18 Forte, 54).
Unused subs: 12 Di Gennaro, 13 Galimberti, 15 Falasca, 17 Mella.
Cittadella (4-3-3): 1 Berti; 2 Piaggio (13 Rizzon, 39), 6 Biancoletto, 5 Borsato, 3 Bizzotto; 7 Mezzato, 4 Scalco, 8 Schievene (16 Fella, 67); 10 Baggio, 9 Dallavalle (18 Marzari, 90), 11 Pasha.
Unused subs: 12 Maggiotto, 13 Rizzon, 14 Giubilato, 15 Rifatto, 17 Conte.
Referee: Barbeno (Brescia).
Booked: Piaggio 10, Longo 49.