Debutant striker Edin Dzeko was on target as Inter Milan got their Serie A title defence off to a flying start, thrashing Genoa 4-0 in their opening match of the season in front of fans in the San Siro on Saturday.
Hakan Calhanoglu, who crossed the divide to sign for Inter from city rivals AC Milan in the summer, took centre stage from the off, setting up Milan Skriniar for his side’s sixth-minute opener, before drilling home a second eight minutes later.
The visitors had a great chance to get back in the contest just before the interval, but Yayah Kallon dragged his effort wide from a good position.
That miss proved costly as Inter added a third in the 74th minute through substitute Arturo Vidal to make sure of the three points.
Veteran forward Dzeko, who joined from AS Roma earlier this month, marked his 200th Serie A appearance by heading home a late fourth.
Elsewhere in Serie A, Giacomo Raspadori, Filip Djuricic and Hamed Traore were on target as Sassuolo edged a thriller 3-2 at Hellas Verona.
Inter won their first Scudetto in 11 years last season but having sold star striker Romelu Lukaku and full-back Achraf Hakimi during the close season, and with Christian Eriksen’s future uncertain after he suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch during Euro 2020, doubts emerged in the Italian media over whether the champions would be in good enough shape to defend their title.
But straight from the off, the man who stepped into Eriksen’s shoes in midfield, Calhanoglu, showed there is life in the new-look Inter.
The Turkey international set up Skriniar for his new side’s opener from a corner against a flat-footed Genoa.
Calhanoglu then arrowed a brilliant strike into the net to become the first player to both score and assist on his Serie A debut for Inter since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2006.
Other than Kallon’s miss, Genoa were never really in the match, and it was a matter of how many more Inter would score in the second half.
After being thwarted on several occasions by Genoa goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, it was left to Vidal to step off the bench to sweep home the third, before Bosnian Dzeko headed home to get off the mark as an Inter player.
Photo Inter Milan’s Edin Dzeko (C) jubilates with his teammates Federico Dimarco (L) and Martin Satriano after the 4-0 lead during the Italian Serie A soccer match between FC Inter and Genoa in Milan, Italy, 21 August 2021. EPA-EFE/MATTEO BAZZI