Ruthless, reinvigorated and Ricky. They’re the three words that best describe the somewhat historic game between two sides whom have experienced two completely different starts to the Serie A season. A 7-0 scoreline. Inter have never – in their fruitful, massively successful history – achieved a scoreline of that magnitude away from the San Siro. It was a truly unrelenting performance from the 18-time Scudetto winners, by a side that’s seen themselves become completely rejuvenated through Walter Mazzarri’s disciplined 3-5-2 formation. After the poor attendance in their first home match, the Stadio Citta del Tricolore was near enough a complete sell-out, something that’s expected in a game of this magnitude. I don’t believe the Neroverdi’s fans were expecting the demolition job Inter proceeded to dish out to their hopeless opponents.
The match started with the Serie A newcomers attempting to press high and play the fruitful, attacking football that brought them so much success last season. In the 3rd minute, Juan Jesus recovered the ball in his own box, took a couple of touches out of this feet and delivered a sumptuous ball down the line to the in-form Yuto Nagatomo. The Japanese wing-back sprinted down the wing, with 3 of Inter’s attackers in close support, while Sassuolo struggled to track back after applying so much high pressure from their original attack. Nagatomo delivered the ball across the box to an on rushing Rodrigo Palacio, meaning all the Argentinian striker had to do was slot the ball past a helpless Alberto Pomini.
This was just the start. 23 minutes into the first-half, the recently criticised Fredy Guarin picked up the ball 40-yards out, and delivered a brilliant pass to Palacio. The striker’s shot was then parried by Pomini, allowing new signing Stephan Taider to head home is first goal in a Nerazzurri shirt. Even after 23 minutes, the difference in ability was evident. Sassuolo again tried to string together some passes, but the flawless Esteban Cambiasso would simply break-up play, and then instigate a dangerous counter attack that a faltering Sassuolo defence couldn’t handle.
After two years of fairly underwhelming performances, an exciting Inter Milan side has finally been formed. Palacio and Alvarez were combining spectacularly, with the heavily criticised wing-back Jonathan looking like a completely new player. Then, just to put the icing on the cake, Diego Milito made his Serie A return after several months out with cruciate ligament damage. The most underrated striker in recent years was back for Inter. In just 27 minutes, he managed to score both the fifth and seventh goals, whilst also setting up Esteban Cambiasso to curl in a left-footed strike from 25-yards out.
7-0 it finished. Seven goals scored against a fellow top flight opponent. And, even though the scoreline was so impressive, the Nerazzurri can take so much more away from the match than a historical victory. Cambiasso and Milito looked like the players they were in the Mourinho era, Jonathan and Nagatomo have discovered form they’d struggled to produce since their arrival. Then there’s Ricky Alvarez; the most heavily criticised player in the past year at Inter Milan. He’s playing like a man that’s fallen in love with both Mazzarri’s regime and the footballing world itself. His new found form was epitomised by his beautiful cruyff turn to set up Milito’s first goal.
It’s very easy to criticise Sassuolo for the performance, and rightly so. In 2011/12 it was Novara, last year it was Pescara, and this year it’s the Neroverdi. It’s impossible to see past a last placed finish for Di Francesco’s men. With that performance, Pescara’s 22 points looks like a difficult total to reach.