GENOA, ITALY - FEBRUARY 27: Wesley Sneijder (R) of FC Inter Milan runs to supporters to celebrate after scoring the first goal during the Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Luigi Ferraris on February 27, 2011 in Genoa, Italy. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

Inter Milan Vs. Genoa: Second Half Explosion Pushes Nerazzurri To 5-2 Win Over Genoa

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Inter Milan Vs. Genoa: Five Goals In The Second For Inter Give Them The 5-2 Victory

Inter Milan left the field at the halftime whistle trailing 1-0 to the visiting Genoa. Rodrigo Palacio got the better of Andrea Ranocchia, sending a hard shot into the far corner to give Genoa a surprising lead at the San Siro. Still, Genoa likely suspected that this would be the only high in their visit to the home of the reigning Serie A champions.

Their lead was gone after the 49th minute, their hopes of a point destroyed by the 50th. Just four minutes into the second, Giampaolo Pazzini, who'd failed to make any sort of impression in the first half, scored his fifth goal in black and blue, driving a Maicon cross into the back of the net. Just a minute later, Samuel Eto'o found the goal he so desperately craved. Eduardo parried away a shot by Goran Pandev, but none of the normally impressive Genoa defense was there to clear the ball. Instead in came Eto'o to tap the ball in.

The second from Eto'o was much more enticing. The Cameroonian grabbed the ball from the hapless Genoa defense to dribble through two more defenders, leaving them puzzled, confused and slightly in need of a hug from mama. They stood stunned as Eto'o switched the ball to his right foot and knocked it past Eduardo.

But three wasn't enough for Inter, with the Nerazzurri continuing the attack. Leonardo's halftime substitution, replacing Dejan Stankovic with Pandev, proved to be inspired, although it seems nothing will stop announcers from declaring that Jose Mourinho really created this team. Pandev helped to create Eto'o's first goal, but the fourth was his finish. Wesley Sneijder slid the ball through the Genoa defense, who still seemed unaware that they weren't meant to simply stand by and watch in awe as this team ran circles around them. Pandev was there to finish it off.

As if they feared that Genoa would come back from a 4-1 deficit (well, they'd been down 3-0 to Roma and won 4-3, so it could happen) the defense decided to get in on the action. Yuto Nagatomo, brought on for Ranocchia, scored his first goal in Italy, to the absolute delight of visiting Japanese tourists with high speed cameras. It almost looked like Safeco Field when Ichiro steps to the plate for the Mariners. Fair play to Nagamoto, though, as he grabbed a bouncing pass from Sneijder, turned and shot while still off balance. The celebration? Bows to the crowd, of course.

Inter were kind enough to allow Genoa a consolation goal after they ran wild for the majority of the half. Maicon barely seemed interested as Palacio sent a cross to the left side of the field, allowing substitute Mauro Boselli to grab the visitors' second. That's another first goal in Serie A, with the Argentine, coming over from Wigan, getting his first in Italy.

So Inter stay five points behind leaders AC Milan, going to bed every night praying that their rivals will stumble somehow. But unbeaten in eleven, it's difficult to imagine that they'll let up now, especially considering their next match is against bottom-dwelling Bari. Inter, meanwhile, play Brescia next, so if they manage to get past the bus, they'll stay even with Milan. Genoa have lost ground to Bologna and Fiorentina as they slip to twelfth.

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Inter Milan Vs. Genoa: Rodrigo Palacio Gives Genoa 1-0 Lead At Halftime

Well. A surprise goal at the San Siro leaves Inter Milan reeling at the halftime whistle as Rodrigo Palacio, who'd been threatening to score again and again, finally breaks through to put Genoa ahead. A perfectly placed pass from Abdoulay Konko set Palacio free, easily beating Andrea Ranocchia to send a shot into the far corner. Júlio César  could do nothing but dive in the vague direction of the ball.

Despite Genoa having the worst attack of teams sitting in the top half of the Serie A table, this team did not come to Milan to park the bus (which is more than one can say for Brescia, who are currently parking ten bright orange shirts in front of their goal at Napoli). The defensive pressure has certainly paid off, with the visitors taking Inter out of the middle of the pitch, but they've had their fair share of chances at the Inter goal as well.

Inter, meanwhile, are sending every ball through Samuel Eto'o in the left hand channel, but the Cameroonian has had nothing to show for it -- yet. Eto'o is also determined to do this on his own, reluctant to pass the ball to any black and blue shirts open in the area. Of course, the one time he made an attempt to share the spoils, no one was there to help. Wesley Sneijder sent a pass in from approximately fifty yards, with Eto'o controlling before beating two Genoa defenders. Eto'o put the ball across the face of goal but Giampaolo Pazzini, who's barely been involved in the match, unable to get there to put the ball past Eduardo.

After the whistle, fans at the San Siro were treated to a display of harmony and light as kids wearing Genoa and Inter kits held hands and paraded around the edge of the pitch. The Genoa kids looked cool about the whole procession, while the Inter children waved and giggled.

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Inter Milan Vs. Genoa, Lineups: Maicon Returns for Inter, Genoa Hit By Suspensions

Genoa comes to the San Siro missing Domenico Criscito, Miguel Veloso, and Antonio Floro Flores due to suspension, with coach Davide Ballardini also observing from the stands. Inter are without Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso, Walter Samuel, and Ivan Cordoba. Maicon's back from suspension, though, bolstering the already buoyant Nerazzurri.

The best money's on Inter in this one. They've sailed up to second in Serie A and must grab a win today to keep AC Milan's lead at the top to just five points. Genoa, meanwhile, are still smarting from last week's 2-1 loss to Catania.

Inter Starting XI: Júlio César, Andrea Ranocchia, Cristian Chivu, Maicon, Thiago Motta, Wesley Sneijder, Dejan Stankovic, Javier Zanetti, Samuel Eto'o, Giampaolo Pazzini

Subs: Marco Materazzi, Luca Castellazzi, Goren Pandev, McDonald Mariga, Houssine Kharja, Yuto Nagatomo, Philippe Coutinho

Genoa Starting XI: Eduardo, Kakha Kaladze, Dario Dainelli, Emiliano Moretti, Giandomenico Mesto, Juraj Kucka, Abdoulay Konko, Marco Rossi, Rafinha, Alberto Paloschi, Rodrigo Palacio

Subs: Luca Antonelli, Bosko Jankovic, Omar Milanetto, Alessio Scarpi, Diego Polenta, Chico, Mauro Boselli

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Inter Milan Vs. Genoa, Preview: An Air Of Inevitability As Leonardo's Men Press For The Scudetto

Inter Milan is a club utterly determined to stay in the race for the scudetto. In Leonardo's two months in charge, the Nerazzurri have climbed from sixth to second, although they remain five points behind rivals AC Milan. With third-place Napoli utterly failing to make an impression at the San Siro last weekend, it seems only Inter will have the opportunity to steal the Serie A glory.

It's unlikely Genoa will put up much of a fight, seeing as they're missing not only their coach but a starting midfielder, defender and striker after everyone got stuck in one tizzy or another against Catania last week. Which is understandable, really. When your team goes and beats your rivals, and then comes back from a 3-0 deficit to beat Roma 4-3, losing the lead to freakin' Catania has to be all sorts of annoying. Except now Genoa have even more of a mountain to climb at their visit to the San Siro.

Looking For A Hero

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With Luca Toni now stalling attacks in Turin, Rodrigo Palacio is the only Genoa play who has scored more than two goals in league this season. Along with Bari's Barreto, Palacio has the lowest total for any Serie A player leading his club in goals.

Club Player Goals
Genoa Rodrigo Palacio 4
Bari Barreto
Lecce David Di Michele 5
Catania Maxi Lopez 6
Cesena Erjon Bogdani

(Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

How An Old Fool Find Goals

At times, the Inter defense is certainly simple enough to pick apart. But with two of Genoa's top scorers, Luca Toni and Andrea Ranocchia (who, by the way, had five between them), off for other pastures, you have to wonder who, exactly, is going to cut through the defense. Rodrigo Palacio? Without Miguel Veloso, there aren't many to get him the ball. Alberto Paloschi, who has yet to start this season, will be partnering Palacio. In other words, this is not a match that brings the word "upset" to mind.

Whereas Genoa really dislike scoring goals, somehow managing to get to 10th on less than one per match, Inter really, really like scoring them. Samuel Eto'o has 16 already this season, but Wesley Sneijder is determined to catch-up. The midfielder, finally back from injury, scored from a fantastic free kick last week and put another off the post. He's promised Leonardo at least 10 goals before the end of the season, so we'll be watching you today, Wes. We'll also have our eyes on Giampaolo Pazzini, who's scored four in his seven matches since coming over from Sampdoria.

Injuries and Suspensions

Inter will be missing Diego Milito, Esteban Cambiasso, Walter Samuel and probably Ivan Cordoba. They'll be pleased to welcome Maicon back from suspension, although it remains to be seen how long he'll go without another.

Genoa are without Domenico Criscito, Miguel Veloso, and Antonio Floro Flores after their tempers got the best of them last week. Criscito saw straight red for a poor tackle, but Floro Flores was given one from the bench after insulting the referee. Coach Davide Ballardini is also suspended after protesting the card to Floro Flores. Mattia Destro and Omar Milanetto are also set to miss out.

Pick

After weeks and weeks of picking apart Inter Milan, I'm finally giving in to the inevitable. A win for Inter, likely 3-1.

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