The first half saw plenty of action, with both sides taking it in turns to dominate. The visitors got off the mark quickly, with Rodrigo Palacio making an early run to split apart the Sampdoria defense. The flag was up for the Argentine, however, giving the home side a chance to respond quickly. Gianluca Sansone put in a great header, but Samir Handanovic was able to rescue it easily.
In fact, Andrea Stramaccioni should spend a portion of each day thanking the gods that they brought Handanovic to his side this summer. It was the goalkeeper that kept Inter alive in the latter part of the first half. The often shaky nerazzurri defense was even more unstable in Genoa, a fact highlighted by the tendency of Jonathan to tackle himself and fall over untouched. In the first half, Handanovic managed to save four shots and intercept four crosses, rescuing his defense again and again.
With Sampdoria applying the majority of the pressure after about 20 minutes, it was surprising, then, that Inter went into the break with a 1-0 lead. Palacio, the only Inter player that really seemed to cause any danger near the area, again split apart the Samp defenders. He got on the end of a long ball from Alvaro Pereira to head the ball on past Sergio Romero.
The home side refused to be beaten, trying immediately for the equalizer. But again, Handanovic was up to the challenge, blocking a shot from Andrea Poli and sending his team into the second half on top. And likely giving them a stern talking-to in the dressing room.
The second half brought more of the same, with Sampdoria pouring fourth and putting pressure on the weak points in the Inter defense. Shortly after the restart, Angelo Palombo's free kick went barely wide. Then Handanovic was forced to perform a great save on Sansone, before Mauro Icardi put a header just off target.
It took ten minutes after the restatrt for the visitors to finally fight off the pressure and get their own chance in, with Rodrigo Palacio very nearly scoring a second. Only an excellent sliding tackle from Shkodran Mustafi prevented Inter from doubling their lead. With over a half-hour left to go, Stramaccioni decided to tighten his defenses, bringing in Matias Silvestre for Jonathan and defensive midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic for Antonio Cassano.
Stramaccioni's defensive strategy worked -- Sampdoria were shut down, barely able to trouble Handanovic any longer. Maxi Lopez, on for Sansone with 30 left to go, finally settled in twenty minutes later, forcing the goalkeeper into two saves. But, except for a threatening low shot from Poli in extra time, there was little Doria could do to break through the Inter players.
And so, with Sampdoria trying so hard to find an equalizer, it wasn't all that surprising when the nerazzurri hit them on the counter, with Palacio again bursting through the defense. His run was fantastic, although Romero probably should have done better to keep out his shot. Still, Inter found an extra and most importantly, found all three points.
Sampdoria: Sergio Romero, Daniele Gastaldello, Angelo Palombo, Shkodran Mustafi, Marcelo Estigarribia (Simon Poulsen 77), Pedro Obiang, Nenad Krsticic (Gianni Munari 86), Andrea Poli, Lorenzo Di Silvestri, Mauro Icardi, Gianluca Sansone (Maxi López 59)
Inter Milan: Samir Handanovic, Álvaro Pereira, Juan Jesus, Andrea Ranocchia, Jonathan (Matias Silvestre 58), Walter Gargano, Mateo Kovacic, Javier Zanetti, Fredy Guarín, Antonio Cassano (Zdravko Kuzmanovic 64), Rodrigo Palacio
Goals: Palacio 43, 90+ (I)