Inter ran out as 3-0 winners in a thrilling encounter on Sunday evening as they welcomed Palermo to the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.
The match had been labelled as a battle of two Argentine strikers beforehand, namely Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala. It would appear the former won the battle as he bagged a brace and, along with Fredy Guarin, scored the decisive goals for Roberto Mancini’s side.
Initially it was Palermo who started the brighter of the two sides, taking the game to Inter early on as they pressed high and moved quickly in possession.
The hosts soon settled and began to force some pressure themselves. Two misplaced passes spoiled what looked to be promising attacks. The guilty parties were first Gary Medel who was then shortly followed by Xherdan Shaqiri.
The Rosanero were the first to threaten to break the deadlock on 14 minutes, as a free kick from wonder-kid Paulo Dybala floated just over Samir Handanovic’s crossbar.
The game’s opening goal came from the resulting change in possession as the Nerazzurri went down the other end and won a corner. Shaqiri’s cross found an unmarked Guarin who headed downward and beyond the helpless Stefano Sorrentino to give the hosts the lead.
The visitors could and possibly should have drawn level ten minutes later. A perfect low cross from Achraf Lazaar found Luca Rigoni at the near post who could only divert the ball into the side netting from inside the six-yard-box. A matter of moments later Dybala threatened again as he curled a shot wide from outside the box.
Rodrigo Palacio should have doubled Mancini’s side’s lead on the half hour mark. A good cross from Marcelo Brozovic found the Argentine forward in the centre of goal, however, Palacio’s tame header never looked worrying for Sorrentino.
Palermo were once again thwarted early in the second half in agonising yet almost hilarious fashion. The series of events began as Edgar Barret0 squared the gal across goal for Dybala to tap in, only for him to be blocked by Handanovic.
The ball then fell Franco Vazquez whose shot beat the Slovenian keeper and rolled across the line where Dybala was waiting to tap into the open goal. The Argentina shockingly managed to blaze over the bar from inside the six-yard-box and Inter were left holding on by a thread.
Dybala and Vazquez’s compatriot – Icardi – then had a chance of his own. A deep cross from Guarin resulted in Icardi heading goal ward from 20-yards and beat the labouring Sorrentino, only to see his effort bounce agonisingly off the post and across goal.
Icardi finally got his goal as he took the ball down in a crowded box, and hit a low, driven shot which went through a crowd and into the net.
The game continued to be played at a frantically high pace and both sides continued to be sloppy in front of goal, until Icardi bagged his second in the dying moments as he converted a Guarin cross.