Inter Milan kicked off their Italian league title defence by cruising past Genoa 4-0 on Saturday in an encouraging display from the champions following a turbulent close season.
Simone Inzaghi’s side were two goals ahead after 13 minutes thanks to Milan Skriniar and Hakan Calhanoglu, before second-half strikes from Arturo Vidal and Edin Dzeko completed the rout in front of just over 27,000 spectators at the San Siro as crowds return to stadiums in Italy.
“We worked hard towards today, we got off to a great start and we won,” said the impressive Calhanoglu, who also provided the cross for Skriniar’s goal.
“It’s easy to play with teammates who have such quality, you know how they’re going to move and today we played really well all together. We want to continue that way.”
Grounds have been permitted to open to 50 percent capacity by the Italian government and although Saturday’s crowd was some way down on the near 38,000 places made available at the San Siro, the roars from the stands brought some joy back to the ‘Nerazzurri’ after a difficult summer.
Financial problems led to coach Antonio Conte’s departure and the sale of star players Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi, but they played as though their troubles were behind them under new boss Inzaghi.
Skriniar opened the scoring five minutes into the new season with a thumping header from a corner by Calhanoglu, who doubled Inter’s lead eight minutes later by drilling home a long-range strike after exchanging passes with fellow new signing Dzeko.
Bosnia forward Dzeko was excellent up front and was denied a debut goal when his deflected shot clipped off the bar in the 24th minute as Inter dominated.
The hosts also had two goals ruled out offside either side of half-time, with Ivan Perisic and Calhanoglu — who arrived from local rivals AC Milan to take the place of Christian Eriksen as he recovers from cardiac arrest at Euro 2020 — both denied.
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