MILAN - There’s nothing quite like coming home. On Saturday night at the San Siro, it was an occasion for goosebumps. Because you can’t beat being there. And we were back, supporting the team, cheering on the boys, and singing proudly as champions of Italy. 27,402 voices united as one to back the 11 Nerazzurri on the pitch.
The season kicked off in the same way the last one ended with three points, a hatful of goals and an unforgettable spectacle. Inter marked the return of their faithful supporters by putting on a show as they tore through Genoa for a stunning 4-0 win.
Edin Dzeko and Hakan Calhanoglu are the new faces of Inzaghi's Inter. The Nerazzurri lined up in a 3-5-1-1 formation against Genoa's 3-5-2, who were aiming to keep it tight at the back and rely on Pandev and Kallon front, a strikeforce with 18 years between them. It only took two minutes to set the mood for the evening, with the Nerazzurri's set-piece routines and overlapping defenders constantly causing problems for the opposition. Stefan de Vrij skied an effort from a good position, and then in the 6th minute came the first roar of joy when Calhanoglu's corner found Milan Skriniar's head in the box.
It was lift-off for Inzaghi’s Inter in a cacophonous San Siro and the Nerazzurri were off and running. In the 12th minute, Marcelo Brozovic hit a shot from the edge of the box that found its way into Salvatore Sirigu’s hands. But the Genoa goalkeeper could do nothing two minutes later when Calhanoglu hit an unstoppable shot from 20 yards out that curled into the corner to make it 2-0. 14 minutes into his debut, the Turkish international had already registered a goal and an assist.
Inter showed no signs of letting up and continued to grind away, with Genoa not able to find any space. In the 24th minute, Dzeko took the ball on his chest and spun to hit a volley against the crossbar. Davide Ballardini's side grew into the game but it was only towards the end of the first half that they were able to really threaten Samir Handanovic with Yayah Kallon shooting wide from a good position. Before the end of the first half, VAR ruled out Ivan Perisic's goal to make it 3-0 having strayed into an offside position.
The second half didn’t match the first’s frenetic pace as the players started to suffer under the intense heat, and Genoa made three changes to try and impose themselves on the game. Pandev was the man pulling all the strings and he was instrumental in creating Kallon's right-footed effort which was blocked by Handanovic. But it was Calhanoglu who once again lit up the evening in Milan. His right-footed effort found the crossbar, and Perisic was once again offside as Inter kept searching for their third.
The fans were making themselves heard in the second half, and Inter continued to threaten down the left-hand side. Dzeko linked up well with his new team-mates as Inter finally made it 3-0 in the 74th minute. Dzeko’s shot was parried by Sirigu and Nicolo Barella pounced on the ball with an exquisite back-heel flick to set up Arturo Vidal’s right-footed finish from a few yards out.
That goal extinguished any hope of a Genoa comeback, and Edin Dzeko put the cherry on the cake to complete a perfect evening at the Meazza. His debut goal arrived in the 87th minute with an unstoppable header from Vidal’s cross.
It was a 4-0 win that filled the hearts of all Nerazzurri fans, who, after paying their respects to ex-player Goran Pandev, celebrated with the team in front of the Curva. It was the perfect conclusion to a day that saw four players make their debut (Dzeko, Calhanoglu, Denzel Dumfries and Martin Satriano), two of them scoring goals, a return of our fans, three points, four goals and a clean sheet.
It was the evening everyone was waiting for, and the evening that Inter deserved. We’re back. Forza Inter!
INTER 4-0 GENOA (HT 2-0)
INTER (3-5-1-1): 1 Handanovic; 37 Skriniar, 6 De Vrij, 95 Bastoni (2 Dumfries 84'); 36 Darmian, 23 Barella (8 Vecino 77'), 77 Brozovic, 20 Calhanoglu (48 Satriano 77'), 14 Perisic (32 Dimarco 69'); 12 Sensi (22 Vidal 69'); 9 Dzeko.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
GENOA (3-5-2): 57 Sirigu; 3 Vanheusden, 14 Biraschi (66 Serpe 46'), 4 Criscito; 27 Sturaro (10 Melegoni 71'), 47 Badelj, 65 Rovella, 33 Hernani (24 Bianchi 46'), 50 Cambiaso (2 Sabelli 46'); 19 Pandev, 91 Kallon (9 Favilli 54').
Subs not used: 22 Marchetti, 5 Masiello, 20 Ekuban, 44 Buksa, 80 Agudelo, 89 Eyango, 90 Portanova.
Coach: Davide Ballardini.
Bookings: Criscito (G), Sturaro (G), Vecino (I).
Added time: 3 + 4 minutes.
Assistants: Liberti, Vecchi.
Fourth official: Marchetti.
VAR assistant: Carbone.