Inter opened their 2019/20 Serie A campaign against newly promoted team Lecce. The anticipation around this fixture was high, with the lavish spending Inter did over the summer period. Further this, it was the first competitive match in charge for new manager Antonio Conte. In front of 65,000 fans, Inter ensured that they would put on a memorable show.
Last season, Inter struggled up front to score goals, and run away with matches. Inter’s top three goal scores from last season, have either been shown the door, or been notified that they will no longer partake in playing with Inter. Nainggolan completed a transfer to Cagliari, Perisic moved to Bayern Munich on loan. Inters top scorer Mauro Icardi is still on the market, looking for a new team.
The acquisition of Romelu Lukaku, Diego Godin, Valentino Lazaro, Stefano Sensi, and Nicolo Barella, Inter were looking to improve in all aspects of the pitch. They managed to do this in emphatic fashion, thumping Lecce 4-0.
Inter started the match with a 3-5-2 formation, which was expected under Conte. With Stefano Sensi and Romelu Lukaku making their Serie A debut. The first real opportunity came within 15 minutes when Candreva sent a ball into the 6-yard box. Martinez met the ball with his head, and aimed low, bouncing it over the post. Inter missed the opportunity to take the lead very early on in the match. Only 6 minutes later, Inter didn’t waste another opportunity taking a 1-0 lead. Candreva crossed the ball to Asamoah who then passed back to Brozovic, and with a fantastic strike from outside the box, he put the ball into the top right corner, outside of the keepers reach.
Only 3 minutes later, Inter struck again. This time it was debutant Stefano Sensi putting the ball into the back of the net. Sensi who initially had his shot blocked by teammate Vecino struck a second time, hard and low. With the ball rolling into the back of the net, into the bottom left corner. Lecce looked stunned, going down 2-0 in less than 5 minutes.
The match continued and the teams headed into the break with inter leading 2-0.
Inter began the second half just as fast as they began the first with Inter continuing to press. It took only 15 minutes for the home side to add to their current total. Debutant and record signing Romelu Lukaku picked up the scraps from a Martinez shot that Lecce keeper Gabriel could not contain, slotting away a tap in. Leading 3-0 it looked almost certain that Inter would come away with all three points.
Lecce faced further trouble when substitute Farias was sent off with a straight red card on his tackle on Barella. It looked to cost Lecce even more when Politano put the ball into the back of the net. VAR ruled that Lukaku was in an offside position, and the goal was disallowed.
Inter closed out the game in the 84th minute, with an amazing goal from Antonio Candreva. Receiving a pass in the middle of nowhere, Candreva unleased a hopeful shot from distance. The ball went straight into the top corner, wrapping up an emphatic performance from Inter.
The match was finally over, with Inter walking away 4-0 winners.
Inter were extremely impressive in their opening fixture albeit their opponents. Throughout last season Inter struggled offensively and it appears Conte has fixed this problem. Their purchases over the summer have paid instant dividends with such a dominant victory. Inter controlled the ball throughout the match, holding approximately 60% of the ball.
We still haven’t seen the best of Inter yet, with their defensive line still to play together yet. Godin and De Vrij were not selected to play this match. A man of the match performance would have to go to Candreva. The reason being is that we have never seen him play like this in the Inter jersey, and he was all over the ball.
What makes this result even more important is the comments of the manager. Who although appreciated the 4-0 victory, still had criticism of his team. “We have to know there’s plenty of room to improve’ Conte stated after the match, adding “We have to improve in so many areas”. This is the positive attitude the manager has brought to Inter, showing that there is still more to see.
Moving forward, match-day 2 sees Inter travel to Cagliari. This fixture will be the one to watch. With both Barella and Nainggolan facing their old clubs. If this mornings match is anything to go by, this will be an entertaining fixture.