Inter Milan beats Genoa 1-0 in Serie A

Sulley Muntari scored a fortuitous goal to give Serie A defending champion Inter Milan a 1-0 win over Genoa on Friday.

The Ghanaian scored in first-half injury time when he collected the ball outside the area and shot.

The ball appeared to be heading comfortably into Genoa goalkeeper Eduardo’s grasp, but bounced at the last minute and deflected off the Portuguese into the net.

"We had to work hard, above all in the last 20 minutes, because Genoa played with four attackers," Inter fullback Davide Santon said. "We had to work hard, but they are an important three points for us."

There were two injury worries for Inter coach Rafael Benitez ahead of its match with Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Midfielder Esteban Cambiasso came off midway through the first half with what appeared to be a leg injury. Goalkeeper Julio Cesar then made way for Luca Castellazzi after the break.

Genoa started the brighter of the two sides and caused Inter problems down the left wing, where Maicon and Lucio struggled to control the pace of Giandomenico Mesto.

In the 21st minute Luca Toni cut in past Lucio, but Cesar pushed his shot away for a corner. Two minutes later Cesar was forced into another save, after Mesto shot following a layoff from Toni.

Even so Inter should have taken the lead in the 29th. Muntari played the ball across the face of goal, but despite having time and being unmarked Samuel Eto’o blazed high and wide with the goal at his mercy.

Genoa defender Kakha Kaladze made a last ditch tackle to stop Coutinho shooting in the 39th and Toni shot wide in the 41st from Marco Rossi’s pullback.

Muntari’s goal failed to spark Inter after the break and the best Benitez’s side could manage was two freekicks from Wesley Sneijder that flew harmlessly over the bar.

"Genoa had a high defense and closed down the space," Inter coach Rafael Benitez said. "We tried to move the ball about and keep them moving, but maybe we were a bit overly exuberant in attack."

Genoa increased the pressure toward the final whistle and came close to equalizing in the latter stages of the game.

Toni had another chance in the 73rd, but substitute goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi held his header and full back Domenico Criscito then shot wide from the edge of the box.