Mauro Icardi bagged a brace and was snubbed by Maxi Lopez, who saw a penalty saved, in Inter’s 4-0 soap opera victory at Sampdoria.
There were so many stories running through this fixture, as Sinisa Mihajlovic and Walter Mazzarri faced their former clubs. Above all, Maxi Lopez came face-to-face with his ex-teammate and ex-friend Mauro Icardi, who moved in with his ex-wife Wanda Nara after they all went on vacation together. Maxi refused to shake Icardi’s hand before kick-off and wouldn’t look him in the eye.
Samp were without Manolo Gabbiadini and Gaetano Berardi, while Mihajlovic continued his touchline ban. The Nerazzurri needed a boost, but the season is over for Juan Jesus and Jonathan also missed out. Mateo Kovacic was given a rare start in midfield.
Icardi was jeered every time he touched the ball, but it was the Argentine who opened the scoring with a volley from six yards that squirmed under Junior Da Costa’s body on a Rodrigo Palacio assist. Icardi celebrated by putting his hand to his ear and urging the crowd to insult him, infuriating the Sampdoria players. Costa was even booked and had to be held back from confronting Icardi.
The referee pointed to the spot, as Andrea Ranocchia completely mistimed his tackle through the back of Daniele Gastaldello. However, Maxi Lopez stepped up and saw his penalty saved by Samir Handanovic.
The soap opera atmosphere escalated moments later when Eder felt he was tripped by Rolando, but was booked for simulation. A brawl broke out with Walter Samuel and Handanovic, leading to Eder receiving another yellow card.
Maxi Lopez forced a one-handed save at full stretch from Handanovic, then the goalkeeper flew to palm away a Sansone free kick as 10-man Samp continued to push.
Rolando desperately cleared a corner before Shkodran Mustafi could get the tap-in, while Handanovic again needed a sensational save to deny Soriano’s curler on the counter.
Sansone and Palacio had good chances, while Da Costa needed a fine save at the near post to deny La Trenza.
From that Hernanes corner, Walter Samuel scored with a towering header to double Inter’s lead at Marassi.
Down to 10 men, Samp had the wind knocked out of their sails and Inter went 3-0 up. Palacio ran on to a Kovacic through ball and rolled across for Icardi to complete his brace.
Palacio made it 4-0 in the final stages, combining with Ricky Alvarez to sprint into the box down the left and place an angled drive across Da Costa.
Sampdoria gave the Serie A debut to Mattia Lombardo, the son of club legend Attilio Lombardo.
Saved penalty: Maxi Lopez 18 (S)
Sent off: Eder 20 (S)