Inter Club Focus: Mazzarri’s Reign Begins With Success
Mazzarri opted to field a new look 3-5-1-1 system, with the Argentine Ricky Alvarez operating behind his compatriot Rodrigo Palacio upfront. The Inter new boys, Wallace and Saphir Taider were left out of the line up, whilst Mauro Icardi and Mateo Kovacic were unable to prove their fitness for a starting berth.
During pre-season Mazzarri had emphasised the need for his side to launch quick transitions between play and look to attack the opposition, however, during the first-half the Nerazzurri struggled to breakdown a defiant Genoa side. Andrea Ranocchia and Jonathan both had chances early on, but failed to capitalise on them.
Genoa tested Inter’s defensive nerve before half-time as Juraj Kucka headed over from a Francesco Lodi corner and then Alberto Gilardino argued with Andrea Bertolacci for failing to find him with a cross.
Half-time saw the introduction of Icardi, making his debut in Nerazzurri colours and he made an immediate impact, testing Mattia Perin in the Genoa goal with a header. Genoa responded immediately and pressurised the Inter goal with a number of shots.
Icardi’s introduction had turned the game in Inter’s favour and they looked more potent upfront; the forward’s pace and eye for goal unnerved the opposition defence.
Inter broke the deadlock in the 75th minute as Yuto Nagatomo slid in at the back post to bundle the ball over the line following a bizarre mix up as Luca Antonelli deflected a Jonathan cross to provide the assist.
Icardi again stole a march on the Genoa defence, losing his marker and smashing a header off the cross bar in the 81st minute.
Mazzarri introduced Saphir Taider for Ricky Alvarez, as he looked to seal three important points for Inter’s season. The Algerian midfielder impressed on his debut; his work-rate and runs into the Genoa box helping push the Beneamata forward.
Rodrigo Palacio put the finishing touches on Inter’s 2-0 win in the closing minutes as he broke the off-side trap to latch on to a Freddy Guarin through ball and slot past a hapless Mattia Perin.
It was a decent result for Inter and Mazzarri will hope that his side can draw on the positives as they look to push towards qualifying for European football once again.
This fixture was also important for other reasons too, as reports suggested it could be Massimo Moratti’s last ever match as club president of Internazionale.
Media speculation continues to suggest that Erik Tohir’s reported takeover of the club could be imminent and it is unknown whether the Indonesian businessman plans to continue with Moratti as president.
Reporters quizzed Moratti after the match, Moratti said, “My last game as President? I don’t like to say that and I don’t think it is. Talks are ongoing but no agreement has been reached yet.”
Finally, Inter said farewell to one of their treble winning heroes, as Dejan Stankovic performed a lap of honour after receiving a commemorative plaque, presented by Moratti, and a shirt bearing a message saying “Stankovic 326 Grazie.”
Stankovic was given a rousing ovation by the home fans and his departure will be felt by all Inter supporters who will remember all members of the treble winning team for years to come.
Walter Samuel, Cristian Chivu, Javier Zanetti, Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso all remain from the legendary team but one must wonder just how long each player will continue to feature in an Inter shirt?
Yet Inter must move on now as they look to assemble a new youthful squad guided under Walter Mazzarri’s watchful eye. The new signings are still to make an impact on the first team and will influence the coach’s thinking as the season develops. Nerazzurri fans can watch on with renewed optimism.