The 15th round of the Serie A campaign has ended and Inter Milan find themselves once again at the top of the table. Despite the fact that it took a superb Adem Ljajic free kick to secure three points from a match against bottom-half side Genoa, Interisti have much to be excited about as the season's halfway point approaches.
The first half was thoroughly dominated by Inter Milan. The Nerazzurri created several great chances, but simply lacked the final touch necessary to convert those chances into goals. The fact that Genoa were content to shell up in what appeared to be a 5-3-2 formation for most of the match contributed to the difficulty that Inter had in finding clear passing and shooting lanes in the final third.
The second half saw Inter control the tempo in a similar manner as the first, although there were a few more scares provided by Genoa's attack. Handanovic was called into action near the beginning of the half to stop a Figuieras effort.
Ljajic scored the match's opener and winner around the hour mark with a brilliantly executed free kick, which he won a few yards outside of the 18-yard box. Ljajic again put the ball in the back of the net minutes later, but the ref whistled for offside.
Aside from a few other half-chances, the remainder of the second half didn't contain much exciting action. Though Handanovic was called into action at the death of the match to deny a Tino Costa attempt, and D'Ambrosio was ejected from the match for receiving two yellow cards.
Even when you don't take the goal he scored into consideration, Adem Ljajic had an excellent match. He was responsible for setting up both Felipe Melo and Stevan Jovetic with good scoring opportunities from the run of play during the first half. He nearly grabbed a goal himself when he put his head to an Alex Telles cross near the end of the first half. Unfortunately for Inter, Genoa keeper Perin was able to deny Ljajic with an incredible snap save. He also had a great chance after scoring his second-half goal, but directed his shot right at Perin.
The former Roma man is doing much to show his worth and is really beginning to find his groove with Inter. Even without his goal, he would have been man of the match - no question.
Inter 1-0 Genoa (HT: 0-0)
Scorers: Ljajic 60.
Inter: 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio, 25 Miranda, 24 Murillo, 12 Telles; 83 Melo (77 Brozovic 46), 17 Medel; 11 Biabiany, 8 Palacio (13 Guarin 89), 22 Ljajic; 10 Jovetic
Subs not used: 30 Carrizo, 46 Berni, 5 Jesus, 6 Dodò, 9 Icardi, 14 Montoya, 23 Ranocchia, 27 Gnoukouri, 97 Manaj.
Coach: Roberto Mancini.
Genoa: 1 Perin; 5 Izzo (90 Cissokho 80), 8 Burdisso, 3 Ansaldi; 11 Figueiras (21 Pandev 74), 88 Rincon, 20 Tino Costa, 93 Laxalt; 22 Lazovic (16 Capel 60), 10 Perotti, 13 Gakpe.
Subs not used: 23 Lamanna, 27 Ujkani, 4 De Maio, 18 Ntcham, 38 Ricozzi, 54 Sandro, 97 Ghiglione.
Coach: Gianpiero Gasperini.