Hakan Calhanoglu and Edin Dzeko show there is yet life at Inter Milan as the Italians begin their title defence with a 4-0 romp against Genoa
The Simone Inzaghi era at Inter Milan started off with a bang as the Nerrazzuri started off their title defence with a 4-0 demolition of Genoa at the San Siro. Inter have had a disappointing summer that has seen them part ways with manager Antonio Conte, the reigning Serie A MVP, Romelu Lukaku and star right-back Achraf Hakimi.
There appears to be life in the Italians yet, and the performance could hint at a promising season to come. It was a solid performance from top to bottom, with new boys Hakan Calhanoglu and Edin Dzeko joining the party. Milan Skriniar put the Nerazzurri ahead after six minutes from a Calhanoglu assist. The Turkish international got himself on the scoresheet soon after, doubling Inter’s lead on 14 minutes.
Substitute Arturo Vidal came off the bench to score the night’s third, while Dzeko rounded off proceedings with a late strike to make it 4-0. Both Calhanoglu and Dzeko ended the night with a goal and an assist apiece, the first Inter players to do so on debut since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2006 against Fiorentina.
Playing three at the back, the game against Genoa was an ideal setting for Inzaghi to try out his formation and tactics with his new team. The season is still in its infancy, and Inter will face tougher challenges yet. For now, however, they have shut up doomsayers and put up a performance worthy of the champions. Here are our player ratings for the Inter Milan stars.
Samir Handanovic: 6.5/10
A rather quiet evening for the Inter Milan custodian as Genoa failed to cause him much trouble. Was called upon to make a couple of smart saves and had Skriniar bail him out on one occasion. Was largely helped by a Genoa attack that forgot its shooting boots at home.
Milan Skriniar: 8/10
Showed up on the night and put in an excellent performance. The 26-year-old gave Inter the lead with a thumping header and was dominant in proceedings throughout the game. He showed off his ability on the ball and drove forward when needed.
Stefan de Vrij: 6.5/10
Had a couple of scares in the first half but gathered himself as the game went on. A rather solid but unspectacular performance by the Dutchman, who his defensive partners overshadowed.
Alessandro Bastoni: 7/10
A solid performance by the Italian who formed the back three alongside Skriniar and De Vrij. One of Inter’s better performers on the night and exuded calmness and authority on the ball. Could be set for a big season if he continues to impress.
Matteo Darmian: 7/10
The Italian was an energetic presence on the right flank and looked to be back to his best. Contributed both in attack and defence and rained down crosses on the Genoa penalty area. A step in the right direction.
Nicolo Barella: 8/10
Fresh from a successful summer with Italy, the Azzurri star continued his form onto the new season. He was sensational on the night and helped Inter gain control of the midfield. Made an excellent assist for Vidal’s strike that put Inter up by three goals. He also held up the ball well and was subject to a few harsh tackles from the visitors.
Marcelo Brozovic: 7/10
Another player who was instrumental in Inter gaining the foothold in midfield. Went close with a couple of attempts but could not find the back of the net himself. He bossed the midfield, setting the stage for Inter’s forwards and wing-backs to take centre stage.
Stefano Sensi: 6.5/10
Probably the least impressive of Inter’s midfielders on the night. However, he was not found lacking in effort and made several lung-bursting runs that put him in dangerous positions. Lost the ball a few times and failed to find the final ball when needed.
Ivan Perisic (7/10)
The Croatian veteran was an energetic presence on the night and dominated the left-flank. Made several marauding runs and was twice denied a goal after being caught offside. He also made some floating crosses into the box, which Dzeko could relish in the coming games.
Hakan Calhanoglu: 9/10
An excellent debut for the Turkish international who joined from AC Milan earlier in the summer. He assisted Skriniar’s opener before scoring a thumping trademark strike in the 14th minute. Throughout the game, he was a regular menace for Genoa and appeared to have worked out an understanding with Dzeko.
Edin Dzeko: 8/10
The veteran rolled back the years and linked up well with Calhanoglu. He assisted the Turk’s goal on the night and went close himself. Eventually got his name on the scoresheet with a thumping header in the dying minutes. He may not be Lukaku but showed enough to suggest that the Belgian’s departure could be offset, at least to an extent.
Debut goal for Inter ✅
200th Serie A appearance ✅
What a day for Edin Dzeko 9️⃣ pic.twitter.com/WwscPbB5tZ
— Goal (@goal) August 21, 2021
Federico Dimarco: 6.5/10
He was brought on for Ivan Perisic in the 68th minute. Dimarco put in a decent performance and caused Genoa problems. Rather unlucky not to score or make an assist.
Arturo Vidal: 8/10
The Warrior may be ageing, but he still packs a punch on his day. He replaced Sensi and went about as a man possessed. Scored an excellent goal on the night before assisting Dzeko for Inter’s fourth late on.
Matias Vecino: 5.5/10
A poor night for the midfielder. Replaced the impressive Calhanoglu in the 77th minute but could not carry on from where the Turk left off. Got himself booked even before touching the ball in what was his highlight of the night.
Martin Satriano: 6/10
The youngster replaced the impressive Barella in the 77th minute. He still has ways to go before establishing himself as a regular. The minutes on the pitch will, however, have done him good.
Denzel Dumfries: N/A
Replaced Bastoni late on for his first competitive appearance in an Inter jersey. Got himself a run-out but had little time to make an impact. Could be set for a bigger role in the games to come.