Ricky Alvarez was inspirational and Yuto Nagatomo got his second goal in as many games as Inter cruised past Catania.
The Elefantini wanted revenge for last season, when they fumbled a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 in stoppages. Gonzalo Bergessio shook off a shoulder injury to start, but Pablo Barrientos was absent amid reports of an imminent transfer to Qatar. Inter missed Diego Milito, Cristian Chivu and Javier Zanetti, but Walter Samuel was back in the squad.
Both teams threatened early on with great scoring opportunities. Samir Handanovic used his thighs to capture a Sebastian Leto shot, while a combination of Mariano Andujar and one of his defenders helped clear Jonathan’s attempt off the line.
Jonathan was running the Sicilian defence ragged down the right and burst past Monzon to roll across for Rodrigo Palacio’s simple tap-in.
Panagiotis Tachtsidis hit a long-range screamer that skimmed the upright for Catania, but the hosts lost Mariano Izco to injury.
Inter were also forced into a substitution, as Mateo Kovacic made way for Saphir Taider. Nicolas Spolli was perhaps fortunate to only get a booking for his cynical tackle to stop Palacio’s counter.
Straight after the restart Andujar performed a stunning reaction save on Yuto Nagatomo’s diving header from a Fredy Guarin cross.
It was only a warning, though, as Nagatomo did get his diving header on to a Palacio cross to the back post and this time there was nothing Andujar could do about it.
Handanovic was again crucial to deny Alexis Rolin, who had two attempts beaten away in quick succession.
Ishak Belfodil thought he had scored the third goal for Inter, but was clearly offside when turning in from eight yards.
Ricky Alvarez was having a great game at the Massimino and rounded it off with a goal. He started his run from midfield, dribbled past two players and placed a precise finish across Andujar.