It was the return of Pazza Inter, as they scored two goals in two minutes to beat Fiorentina 4-3 after trailing 3-2 in a spectacular seven-goal San Siro thriller.
This was the Nerazzurri’s first game of the season, as their Week 1 fixture with Benevento was postponed to September 30 because their last campaign only ended in late August with the Europa League Final.
Football Italia report:
“It was a shock start for Inter’s defence, who were all at sea and waiting for an offside flag that never came. Giacomo Bonaventura and Christian Kouame were allowed so much time and space to complete a double give-and-go on the edge of the six-yard box, evading the offside flag for Kouame’s tap-in.
Marcelo Brozovic and Perisic couldn’t quite make the most of their headers at the back post, then Samir Handanovic had to come tearing out to stop Kouame scoring one-on-one when sent clear by the Franck Ribery assist. Inter were awarded a penalty on 18 minutes for a Martin Caceres challenge on Lautaro Martinez. However, after a VAR review, the referee realised Caceres got there first and it was Lautaro who kicked the back of the Fiorentina defender’s leg.
Nikola Milenkovic almost doubled the Viola’s lead with a header just over from the Kouame cross, but Inter started to take control as the half wore on and largely penned the visitors back, Federico Ceccherini charging down a Romelu Lukaku effort and Milenkovic’s tackle preventing him going clear on a Christian Eriksen pass. However, the Inter defence was still easily sliced apart by the Gaetano Castrovilli ball for Kouame, requiring a last-ditch Ashley Young sliding tackle inside the penalty area.
Chiesa was tracking back constantly to defend on Perisic, doing just enough to stop the Croatian volleying in a Young cross at the back post. Just as Fiorentina seemed set to waltz into the half-time break a goal up, they were naively caught out on the counter-attack, with Lautaro Martinez blasting in from the edge of the area to equalise.
Lautaro was responsible for the turnaround too, as he wrestled away from Amrabat and managed to get his shot away from a tricky angle, causing Federico Ceccherini to panic and prod it into his own net.
However, Fiorentina got back on level terms with a well-worked counter-attack of their own. Castrovilli started it in midfield and finished it too, completing his run by meeting the Ribery slide-rule pass to drill into the far bottom corner. Perisic fired a promising opportunity over the bar, but the Viola turned the game around completely to lead 3-2. It was again Ribery who proved inspirational with a perfect pass for Chiesa, cutting out the entire Inter defence to send him clear, and the Italian lobbed on-rushing Handanovic.
Lukaku should’ve equalised from the Perisic assist, but Ceccherini did just enough to pressure him into prodding wide. Achraf Hakimi made his Inter debut, but Bartlomiej Dragowski made two crucial saves with his outstretched foot on Lukaku and flying to tip the Nicolò Barella scorcher over one-handed. Arturo Vidal also came off the bench for his Inter bow, but again Ribery’s inspired pass sent Dusan Vlahovic clear only for the striker to somehow hit it high and wide when totally unmarked. There were only 1,000 people allowed in at San Siro, but all of them – Inter fans included – applauded Ribery as he walked off.
However, those errors from his teammates proved very costly indeed, as Inter had another two twists in the tale. First, Radja Nainggolan’s ball over the top found Hakimi for a cushioned knock-down that Lukaku only had to tap in for 3-3. Moments later, Alexis Sanchez’s in-swinging cross on a short corner found Danilo D’Ambrosio’s header at the back post, getting in front of Vlahovic for 4-3.