Giampaolo Pazzini and Yuto Nagatomo gave Inter a much-needed win over a disappointingly uninspired Fiorentina.
The Nerazzurri needed a boost after losing two home games on the trot to Udinese and CSKA Moscow. Captain Javier Zanetti was suspended following the first red card of his Serie A career, while Wesley Sneijder, Diego Forlan, Dejan Stankovic, Jonathan, Joel Obi, Cristian Chivu and Emiliano Viviano were injured, but Douglas Maicon returned from a long lay-off. The Viola (playing in their all-yellow away strip) crushed Roma 3-0 last week, but Stevan Jovetic was a last-minute addition to the injury list along with Riccardo Montolivo, Mattia Cassani, Alessio Cerci and Per Kroldrup.
Inter had a good chance after three minutes with Philippe Coutinho threading through for Giampaolo Pazzini, but the finish was straight at Artur Boruc. The home side were pushing forward continually, but without much accuracy or inspiration, so Lucio nodded over from a set play. Alessandro Gamberini charged down a cross with his chest, so penalty appeals for a handling offence were waved away.
The first real scoring opportunity was on the half-hour mark, as Coutinho skipped past Gamberini down the right and stung Boruc’s palms with his fierce effort at the near post.
Inter finally broke through with Pazzini against his former club. He ran on to a long ball from Coutinho and drew out Boruc, flicking the finish over the goalkeeper from a very tight angle into the empty net with the outside of his right boot. It was Pazzo’s first Serie A goal since September 24.
It was 2-0 straight after the restart, though Yuto Nagatomo scored almost by accident. The Japanese full-back rushed on to a Pazzini pass and was anticipated by Manuel Pasqual, who fired the clearance straight at Nagatomo’s leg, sending the ricochet into an empty net.
Alberto Gilardino trapped a Salifu ball over the top, but was muscled out for a corner, from which Cesare Natali’s towering header sailed past the bar. A deflected Juan Manuel Vargas free kick was easily smothered, but it was still mainly Inter, as Boruc dealt with a Nagatomo snapshot and saw Thiago Motta’s strike skim the woodwork.
It really should’ve been 3-0, as Maicon’s cross found Sulley Ali Muntari totally unmarked at the back post, but he horribly scuffed the volley from six yards and Pazzini couldn’t reach the wayward effort to tap in.
Pazzini sprung the offside trap only to fire straight at Boruc’s outstretched foot, while Valon Behrami and Santiago Silva headers failed to beat Julio Cesar.