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Genoa 0-3 Inter Milan: The Lukaku Show

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The Belgian’s brace sends Inter back to 2nd

Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Lukaku vanquished his finishing demons from the Fiorentina match
Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Starting XIs

Genoa’s Starting XI (3-5-2)
Inter’s Starting XI (3-4-1-2)

First Half

Genoa started brightly and was on the front foot. That stage of the match didn’t last long, though, with Inter growing into the game and taking control around the 10th minute mark. The Nerazzurri had to wait until the 30th minute for it’s first real opportunity of the half. Deep in the box, Lukaku laid a pass backwards to Christian Eriksen. The Dane, though, could only blast the ball well over the goal from near the PK spot.

Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

That miss only delayed what seemed inevitable, an Inter goal. In the 34th minute, Cristiano Biraghi sent a cross to Lukaku in the right side of the six-yard-box. The 27-year-old headed the ball into the near post netting to give Inter a 1-0 lead that it would never relinquish.

Inter dominated the first forty-five, completely winning the midfield battle (as shown by the touches map below). Eventually, that much of the ball in Genoa’s half was going to result in a dangerous look at goal, even with Genoa keeping Inter out of the final third for much of the half.

Genoa is on the top, Inter is on the bottom

Again, Genoa was largely non-existent from the middle of the pitch, while Inter found less and less space out the deeper into the hosts half it got.

Second Half

The second period was much slower in tempo, and bereft of chances for either side until the final twenty minutes. In the 70th minute, Victor Moses played the ball across the goalmouth to a sliding Borja Valero, but the Spaniard’s point blank effort was blocked.

Genoa pressed for an equalizer, and kept Inter pinned back in its own half. In fact, a Grifone goal seemed increasingly likely until Sánchez doubled Inter’s advantage against the run of play, it must be said. In the 83rd minute, Moses sent a cross to the Chilean at the top of the six-yard-box. Sánchez volleyed home off the top of the crossbar.

Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A
Sánchez scoring the second of the night
Photo by Paolo Rattini/Getty Images

Lukaku iced the cake in stoppage time with his 23rd goal of the Serie A campaign. In the 93rd minute, he embarked upon a solo run from midfield into the box. There, some nifty footwork opened up space for him to slot the ball into the far post from the top corner of the six-yard-box. Quite simply, an incredible effort from Inter’s leading scorer.

Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Recap

Despite the scoreline, very little separated the sides other than quality. Although the first half was clearly Inter’s to own, nothing separated the two sides in the second, except quality. Genoa and Inter each tallied five shots, with two on target, while possession was practically equal as well. The heatmap shows the same:

Genoa is on the left, Inter on the right

You could play count the differences with these heatmaps, and maybe get to five. The only notable one is Genoa blank space in Inter’s box. Davide Nicola’s side never caused Samir Handanović much of an issue, which is fortunate considering the captain’s current run of form in which he has decided to impersonate a block of Swiss cheese. That won’t be the case against Lorenzo Insigne and Napoli, to say the least.

Other major parts of the first team who haven’t been excellent in recent times are Eriksen and Lautaro Martínez. Eriksen put in the effort, but came up short in the final third yet again. If he doesn’t start coming up with the end product, it’s hard too see him at the San Siro next season. Lautaro, meanwhile, was invisible for much of the game, and didn’t seem to try too hard to make a more positive impact. I’m starting to forget what the Argentine looks like, since the camera is on him so little. Sánchez replaced him, and went on to score Inter’s second. Perhaps there’s a new pecking order up top now that the Man United loanee is healthy.

Genoa CFC v FC Internazionale - Serie A Photo by Claudio Villa - Inter/Inter via Getty Images

Inter now goes to 2nd, one point above Atalanta and four ahead of Lazio. Even if staying in 2nd is a difficult task, with games against Napoli and La Dea to close out the season, a drop to 4th seems unlikely. Until Tuesday, and the penultimate regular season match against Napoli. Forza Inter!