Catania vs. Inter Milan, final score 0-3: Encouraging start to Inter's Mazzarri era continues

Maurizio Lagana

Inter ran out comfortable victors in Sicily, making it six points from six under Walter Mazzarri in Serie A.

Rolando Maran made just two changes from the side that lost to Fiorentina on the opening day, with Nicola Legrottaglie and Sergio Almiron replacing Giuseppe Bellusci and Pablo Barrientos. Walter Mazzarri made just one change however it wasn't as expected. Mauro Icardi had been tipped to come in for a midfielder due to his impact after coming on as a substitute last week however whilst Zdravko Kuzmanović made way, it was for fellow midfielder Mateo Kovačić as Mazzarri persevered with Rodrigo Palacio supported by Ricky Álvarez.

The match began at a frantic pace, with both sides creating chances early on as Rodrigo Palacio volleyed a difficult chance wide from Jonathan's cross and at the other end, Gonzalo Bergessio shot weakly at Samir Handanovič after a counter and Sebastián Leto broke free in the box only to scuff his shot at the Slovenian in the Inter goal.

At the other end again, the impressive Jonathan saw his angled drive wriggle beyond Mariano Andújar only for Nicola Legrottaglie to clear off the line.

Following this, the match calmed somewhat and Inter began to settle into a passing rhythm which was rewarded with a goal on 20 minutes. The always energetic Jonathan managed to beat Fabián Monzón down to the right-hand byeline and his low cross evaded Andújar for Rodrigo Palacio to tap in from barely a yard out.

Although Inter had the lead, Catania were positive and looked dangerous on the break however they weren't really able to create any clear-cut chances, the only effort before half time being Panagiotis Tachtsidis's long-range effort which squirmed just wide of Handanovic's post.

After the break, Catania again acquitted themselves well and were probably the better side in the opening moments, but again they lacked an edge and were unable to really create much in the way of chances. Inter on the other hand, looked effective on the counter and Yuto Nagatomo forced a wonderful save out of Andújar, his back-post diving header tipped away by the sprawling Argentine goalkeeper.

A similar setup saw Inter go 2-0 up just six minutes later. Some good build-up play saw Palacio receive the ball wide on the right and whip in a wonderful cross that Nagatomo again met at the back post with a diving header and this time Andújar could do nothing about it, a cruel blow after Catania's positive start to the second half.

The Elefanti did finally make Handanovič work, substitute Alexis Rolín forcing two saves in quick succession out of the Slovenian custodian following a brief spell of Catania pressure.

Ishak Belfodil was introduced for his Serie A debut for Inter and he had the ball in the net with 15 minutes remaining from Palacio's cross however he was clearly offside and the goal was correctly ruled out.

It was left for Ricky Álvarez, looking like a new player under Mazzarri, to settle the match with 10 minutes to play. He received the ball on the left touchline near the half-way line and promptly skipped beyond both Sergio Almirón and Rolín, before guiding a neat left-footed finish in off the far post for an impressive solo goal.

It seemed the third goal finally deflated the Elefanti and Inter closed out the result with relative ease, continuing the encouraging start to the Mazzarri era.

Catania: Andújar; Álvarez (Rolín 62), Spolli, Legrottaglie, Monzón; Izco (López 42), Tachtsidis, Almirón, Bergessio; Leto, Castro

Inter: Handanovič; Campagnaro, Ranocchia, Juan; Jonathan (Wallace 83), Cambiasso, Guarín (Belfodil 68), Kovačić (Taïder 44), Nagatomo; Álvarez; Palacio

Goals: Palacio 19, Nagatomo 56, Álvarez 80

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