Inter thrashed Genoa by five goals to nil to return to second place in the Serie A, in a match that saw manager Luciano Spalleti rest top marksman Mauro Icardi.
Genoa found themselves on the back foot almost immediately due to a lack of defensive concentration, as Inter created their first chance within two minutes. The Nerazzurri were persistent in attack and got their reward when Roberto Gagliardini converted from close range to put them ahead in the 12th minute.
Just four minutes later, it was 2-0. Matteo Politano cut in from the right flank to latch onto a loose ball by João Mario, before driving into the box and finishing with his favoured left foot.
Gagliardini scored his second just minutes into the second half, striking from close range again after Ivan Perišić’s effort ricochet off Andrei Radu and João Mario put the icing on the cake with a strike from the edge of the box in stoppage time, before setting up substitute Radja Nainggolan for the fifth with a well placed cross.
Genoa barely made their opponents look uncomfortable in this game and will walk away disappointed with their display.
Key Talking Point
Manager Spalleti sprang a surprise ahead of the match by resting striker Icardi.
The Argentine has scored six goals for Inter this season, the last two of which came in their last game against Lazio, but that the Nerrazzuri didn’t seem to struggle without their top forward, and an additional four changes to the starting lineup is testament to how good a team their boss has at his disposal.
Inter weren’t at their best against Genoa, but did enough to earn a big result and three points that narrowed the gap between them and league leaders Juventus to three points, for the time-being.
Starting XI: Handanovic (6); D’Ambrosio (6), De Vrij (7), Skriniar (7), Dalbert (7); Gagliardini (8), Brozovic (7); Politano (7), Joao Mario (9*), Perisic (6); Martinez (6).
Substitutes: Keita Balde (6); Valero (6); Nainggolan (7).
Star Man – João Mario was very much in the thick of things for Inter, scoring a goal and assisting two for his side.
The Portuguese international was loaned out to West Ham last season and it looked certain that his career at San Siro was coming to an end – but he has made a strong return to Spalleti’s plans and his performance against Genoa sums this up perfectly.
Worst Player – It was always set to be a tough task to fill the shoes of Icardi, and Inter’s Lautaro Martinez proved that on Saturday, failing to make an impact in just his second start of the season.
The 21 year-old is still a work in progress but will know he has to put in much better performances than he did against Genoa to receive more game time under his manager.
Key Talking Point
This defeat continues a winless run for Ivan Juric’s Genoa, who went through the whole of October without a single win and have now begun the month of November on the same disappointing note.
Their lack of concentration in defence has been a key factor in this run. Inter weren’t at their best at San Siro and largely took advantage of their opponents’ sloppiness at the back. An extra gear reached by the Nerrazzuri could’ve meant a worse scoreline for Genoa.
Improving their performances in defence will be crucial to their hopes going forward, as they look to avoid being dragged further below mid-table.
Starting XI: Radu (5); Biraschi (6), Romero (5), Gunter (6); Pereira (5), Romulo (7), Sandro (5), Bessa (6), Lazovic (6); Pandev (5), Kouame (5).
Substitutes: Piatek (5); Veloso (5); Omeonga (6).
Star Man – In a largely disappointing team performance, Rômulo was the only individual to stand out in the middle of the park, making four key passes and recording an 80% pass accuracy.
The Brazilian also won four duels and will remain an important player for his Genoa side going forward.
Worst Player – Andrei Radu’s defence let him down, as he experienced possibly one of his worst performances for Genoa to date. The Romanian goalkeeper conceded five goals and looked hopeless to save each one. His four saves in the match meant little, and he will surely see better days between the sticks.
Inter next face a mammoth task in the UEFA Champions League with a home clash against Barcelona on Tuesday.
The Nerazzurri will be looking to avenge a 2-0 loss in the reverse group fixture and a big win in the Serie A on Saturday will represent ideal preparation. Their next league match takes them to Atalanta on Sunday.
Genoa, meanwhile, go back to the drawing board to prepare for yet another tough match at home to Napoli on Saturday. They will be desperate for an unlikely result after a poor showing at the San Siro.