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.