Inter Milan too hot for Champions League hopefuls Genoa

Rodrigo Palacio is congratulated by his Inter Milan teammates after scoring the opening goal against Genoa.

Claudio Villa - Inter/Getty Images

Argentinian duo Rodrigo Palacio and Mauro Icardi were on target as Inter Milan inflicted a 3-1 defeat on Genoa on Sunday at the San Siro.

Palacio opened the scoring in the 12th minute and Icardi added a second before the break.

Genoa’s Maxime Lestienne was denied by the bar in the 62nd minute but Armando Izzo gave the visitors a lifeline in the 85th minute.

However, Nemanja Vidic restored the two-goal lead two minutes from time as Inter clinched their sixth win of the campaign.

The Nerazzurri, who had won just one of their previous eight league games, have climbed to ninth place, two points adrift of Genoa.

The defeat was Genoa’s fifth of the campaign and extended their winless run to four league games.

Inter coach Roberto Mancini gave Lukas Podolski his first start since the German forward joined the Nerazzurri on loan from Arsenal earlier this month.

Swiss midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri, who moved to Inter from Bayern Munich this week, watched from the bench.

SERIE A RESULTS

Genoa, looking for their first victory at Inter in 21 years, struggled from the start.

The home side sent an early warning when Fredy Guarin fed Icardi in the box and his attempt was saved by Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin.

Genoa had a good opportunity to take the lead in the seventh minute when Lestienne spotted Luca Antonelli in the box but his left-footed strike was kept out by Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

Inter went ahead five minutes later when Perin was unable to hold on to Icardi’s powerful shot from 12 yards and former Genoa striker Palacio was first to the rebound, smashing the ball into the back of the net.

In the 35th minute, Perin was forced to fully stretch to clear Palacio’s right-footed shot towards the far post.

Inter continued to press forward and their efforts paid off in the 39th minute when an unmarked Icardi got his head on Hernanes’ corner and his effort went past a helpless Perin.

The visitors responded after the break and Handanovic was twice called into action before the hour mark to deny long-range attempts from Antonelli and Iago Falque.

Handanovic was fortunate when the woodwork denied Lestienne, who drilled a left-footed effort from 12 yards.

Genoa were finally rewarded for their attacking display, though. Tino Costa’s bullet strike was on target and Handanovic was unable to hold on to the ball to leave Izzo with an easy tap-in.

That sparked hope for the visitors, but Mancini breathed a sigh of relief when Vidic’s close-range header from Podolski’s corner beat Perin.