Inter took a long time to get into gear, but Yuto Nagatomo and Rodrigo Palacio eventually snatched a 2-0 victory over Genoa and Mauro Icardi rattled the woodwork.
Walter Mazzarri has revamped the Nerazzurri with a 3-5-1-1 system, as Ricky Alvarez supported lone striker Rodrigo Palacio, who was facing his former club. Diego Milito, Cristian Chivu, Javier Zanetti and Walter Samuel were still injured, while Mateo Kovacic was not fit to start. Fabio Liverani made his Serie A debut after just one experience on the bench of the Genoa Primavera youth team. He had to do without the suspended Davide Biondini and Giovanni Marchese, plus not 100 per cent fit Francelino Matuzalem.
Andrea Ranocchia nodded an early corner wide and Jonathan flashed an angled drive across the face of goal where Fredy Guarin could not get on the end of it.
Inter struggled to break Genoa down and did not move the ball around quickly enough, while the visitors threatened only from distance with Francesco Lodi. Zdravko Kuzmanovic blasted over when he should’ve rolled it across for Yuto Nagatomo.
Guarin wasted another promising opportunity by over-hitting the chipped pass for Rodrigo Palacio at the back post. Just before the break Juraj Kucka couldn’t keep his header down from a Lodi corner. Alberto Gilardino was angry with Andrea Bertolacci, as he knocked down a cross into space in the box, but his teammate was too late to make the most of it.
Mauro Icardi came on and made an immediate impact, his free header straight at Mattia Perin. However, Genoa threatened when Mario Alberto Santana’s pass found a Kucka run out of nowhere, but the Inter defence just about managed to scramble clear as shots rained in.
Moments later Guarin got down the right and placed an angled drive across the face of goal, scraping a coat of paint off the back stick.
Vrsaljko performed a crucial sliding interception to stop Icardi going clear on an Alvarez through ball, then Perin smothered a fierce Guarin effort.
Inter finally broke through with a bizarre goal, as Luca Antonelli accidentally deflected a Jonathan cross into the air for Yuto Nagatomo to nod in at the back post from a yard. Both Palacio and Nagatomo went for it, but the Japan international got there first.
Icardi could not have come closer to a second goal on 81 minutes, as his header from a corner rebounded off the crossbar.
Another corner and this time Perin was at full stretch to fingertip away a looping Ranocchia header. Saphir Taider made his Inter debut as a substitute just days after arriving from Bologna.
Deep into stoppages, former Genoa star Palacio finished off the game by springing the offside trap from a Guarin through ball to slide his shot past Perin.