MILAN - The Nerazzurri got their Coppa Italia campaign under way with a 2-1 victory over Genoa. The Nerazzurri are holders of the trophy and, incidentally, they started out last year by beating the same opponents. Inter go through to the quarter-finals and will meet Napoli on 25 January at the Stadio San Paolo.
In a freezing Stadio Meazza, it was Maicon who gave Inter the lead in the ninth minute, powering a shot from outside the area off the outside of his right boot into the top corner of the net. In the 50th minute Poli made it two with a great goal and his first in a blue and black shirt. In the first minute of added time Genoa pulled a goal back with Birsa, after Pratto had hit the bar.
FIRST HALF – For the Coppa Italia tie against Genoa, Claudio Ranieri decided to bring in some new blood: Castellazzi in goal, with Cordoba and Ranocchia in the centre of defence, flanked by Maicon and Zanetti; Cambiasso and Poli played inside midfield, with Faraoni and Obi on the wings; Sneijder and Castaignos led the attack.
The first shot of the game came from Sneijder, but his right-footed shot flew high over the bar. In the 9th minute Inter took the lead as Maicon's powerful right-foot blast from outside the area flew straight into the top corner of the net. Maicon was running wild and in the 20th minute ran half the length of the pitch with the ball glued to his foot before passing to Sneijder: finally Granqvist managed to close down on Castaignos and clear. He and the Brazilian were certainly the liveliest players in the first half, along with Sneijder, who tried to find the goal with a left-footed shot on the half-hour mark, but Lupatelli was equal to it, while just a minute later another attempt of his scraped the bar. On 36 minutes it was the Dutchman once again who tried out his left foot this time and the ball narrowly missed the bar. In the 40th minute Constant responded left-footed from outside the area, but his shot was just over. A controversial offside decision was flagged against Castaignos in the 42nd minute. After two minutes of added time the first half of Inter v Genoa came to a close, with the score at 1-0 in favour of the home side.
SECOND HALF – The second half began without changes being made to either side and with Inter going two ahead through Poli as he scored his first for the Nerazzurri: a Maicon cross from the right into the centre for Andrea who pulled it down for Obi, who returned it for the ex-Sampdoria player to put it away. A chance fell to Pratto a minute later, but he moved too far wide on the left: Castellazzi parried with ease. In the 55th minute Lupatelli did well to come out and managed to clear the ball with his feet just before Castaignos reached Sneijder's pass. Two minutes later it was Sneijder who was unfortunate when he pulled off a piece of wizardry between two Genoa players, but his curling shot went just wide of the post. In the 66th minute Lupatelli dived to save Zarate's right-footed shot. On 70 minutes Castellazzi was called on to make his first save of the game from Jorquera. In the 88th minute Nagatomo broke away on a counter-attack, Alvarez tried a shot but it was cleared by Kucka. In the first minute of added time Genoa pulled a goal back: a backheel from Sculli, a header from Pratto which came back off the bar, and Birsa was there to chest down the rebound and slam home to bring the score to 2-1. That was the last episode of the match and Genoa went out: Inter will meet Napoli in the quarter-finals next week.
Inter 2-1 Genoa (HT:1-0)
Maicon 9, Poli 50, Birsa 90+1.
Inter: 12 Castellazzi; 13 Maicon, 2 Cordoba, 23 Ranocchia, 4 Zanetti; 37 Faraoni, 19 Cambiasso, 18 Poli (Nagatomo 75), 20 Obi; 10 Sneijder (Alvarez 81), 30 Castaignos (Zarate 63);
Unused subs: 21 Orlandoni, 6 Lucio, 8 Thiago Motta, 22 Milito;
Coach: Claudio Ranieri.
Genoa: 22 Lupatelli; 31 Sampirisi, 5 Granqvist, 24 Moretti, 7 Rossi (Constant 25, Marchiori 54); 33 Kucka, 14 Seymour, 10 Brisa; 19 Jorquera; 2 Pratto, 9 Ze Eduardo (Sculli 69);
Unused subs: 73 Scarpi, 11 Jankovic, 20 Mesto, 88 Biondini;
Coach: Pasquale Marino.
Referee: Carmine Russo (Nola).
Added time: 2+3 minutes; Spectators: 12,823