Inter notched up their fifth straight win by hitting five past sorry Parma, including Diego Milito’s brace and a Marco Davide Faraoni stunner!
The Nerazzurri hoped to start 2012 the way they ended 2011, as they were on a run of four consecutive victories. They were also buoyed by the fact Parma had lost their last five visits to San Siro, conquering the venue only once in May 1999.
There was a long injury list ruling out Wesley Sneijder, Diego Forlan, Jonathan, Cristian Chivu and Emiliano Viviano, so Ricky Alvarez took the trequartista role. Alessandro Lucarelli’s ban meant Parma gave Brandao a rare start in their reshuffled defence.
In the opening three minutes Walter Samuel’s header was plucked out of the air. Inter showed patience to develop their movement and took the lead at the 13th.
Alvarez got down the left flank and placed his cross to the near post, where Milito got in front of his marker and flicked it in with the outside of his right boot from five yards.
Alvarez almost set up a second moments later with a great run on the counter from Parma’s corner, but Giampaolo Pazzini horribly ballooned over when unmarked in the middle.
The Nerazzurri were dominating possession and doubled their advantage with a ball to the edge of the box that Thiago Motta smacked into the near bottom corner on the low volley, though Antonio Mirante should’ve done better.
Parma had a fantastic chance to pull one back on 20 minutes when Jonathan Biabiany burst down the right and crossed for the totally alone Sebastian Giovinco, but the Atomic Ant is not good in the air and it showed, as he turned the header well wide with only Julio Cesar to beat.
Samuel was booked for a blatant body-check on Giovinco in the final third, a little too far outside the box to count as a clear scoring opportunity, though he was last man. Giovinco took the free kick himself, skimming the bar.
Giovinco curled another set piece round the wall towards the near bottom corner, forcing Julio Cesar into a tricky save. Biabiany again got past Lucio to cross from the by-line, but Francesco Modesto nodded wide under pressure from Javier Zanetti.
Milito showed Parma’s strikers how it’s done, as he peeled away from his marker to find space and got his header to a Douglas Maicon cross from eight yards. It was a totally free header and Il Principe did not miss.
After the break Massimo Gobbi over-hit his pass that would’ve sent Giovinco clear from eight yards. The Ducali introduced third striker Graziano Pellè for a 4-3-2-1 system.
However, within a minute of this tactical change, Inter scored their fourth. Milito took advantage of Brandao’s slip near the centre-circle to surge forward and threaded through for Pazzini to spring the offside trap, chipping Mirante.
Julio Cesar punched a dangerous Pellè cross off the head of Sergio Floccari, then Giovinco went very close on a mazy run with angled drive finish that shaved the base of the far post.
Parma thought they had a goal on 73 minutes when Zanetti accidentally kicked the ball into his own net while trying to anticipate Gobbi. However, the linesman had already raised his flag for Gobbi’s offside position, much to the Inter captain’s relief.
Less than 30 seconds later Gobbi got to go for goal himself, but this time Julio Cesar was ready to beat away the fierce volley at the near post.
Faraoni came off the bench and within three minutes had scored his debut Serie A goal in absolutely sensational style! A clearance came to just outside the D, where the Under-21 international volleyed an incredible shot over Mirante’s fingertips, in off the underside of the crossbar. It was a glorious goal.
Inter could not have asked for a better way to prepare for next week’s Milan derby.