Serie A - Inter grab win at Genoa
A second-half header from Yuto Nagatomo gave Internazionale a 1-0 win over Genoa in the Serie A game at Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
The match was rescheduled from Week 11 after the initial game was cancelled because of flooding in Liguria in November. The result, Inter’s fourth win in five games, means that Claudio Ranieri’s men climb to joint sixth in Serie A on 20 points.
Genoa striker Rodrigo Palacio sustained a thigh injury against Siena at the weekend, so Kakha Kaladze came in for the Argentinian, with manager Alberto Malesani opting for a 4-5-1 with Ze Eduardo up front.
Inter also had striker Diego Forlan back in the squad for the first time since October. The Uruguayan suffered a leg injury while on international duty with Uruguay two months ago, and settled for a place on the bench on Tuesday.
The visitors had a great chance to open the scoring in the sixth minute, when Giampaolo Pazzini was released by Thiago Motta to face Frey one-one-one. The former Sampdoria striker may have thought he was offside as he snatched at his effort, and the Frenchman was able to block with his left-hand.
Just after the half-hour, Sebastien Frey denied Inter with two wonderful saves. Marco Davide Faraoni's corner was met by an unmarked Walter Samuel, but the 31-year-old made a magnificent scooped save.
Samuel was quick to the rebound and the ball dropped to Diego Milito, but the Argentinian shot straight at Frey from three yards out. It was a typical finish from the woefully off-form former Genoa player, who this week was named the winner of the Bidone d’Oro award for the worst player of 2011.
Moments later Milito thought he had won a penalty when hauled to the ground by Andrea Granqvist as he chased Pazzini’s flick-on. However, referee Luca Banti said no foul, though the former Wigan defender did have his arms all over the Inter player.
In first-half injury-time, Inter almost opened the scoring in fortuitous circumstances. After a poor Motta free-kick, the ball dropped to Zanetti to spread a chipped ball out to Lucio on the left. The Brazilian volleyed a cross for Nagatomo in the box and the Japanese defender tried to knee the ball goalwards, but it deflected wide.
Nagatomo was not to be denied, however, and scored his second goal in two games midway through the second half.
Substitute Ricardo Alvarez cut onto his left foot as he received the ball on the right from Esteban Cambiasso, and the Japanese defender got goalside of Giandomenico Mesto to head home the Argentinian’s floated cross.
Alvarez then almost doubled the score with an ambitious long-range effort that Genoa goalkeeper Frey tipped on to the post.
Alberto Malesani’s team almost snatched a point in injury-time, when Marco Rossi acrobatically shot from close range, but Nagatomo headed the ball off the line.
The loose ball eventually fell to Miguel Veloso, but his follow-up shot was tipped over the bar by Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
There was still time for another chance for Inter in injury-time, as Alvarez released Pazzini, but Frey again saved well from close range.
It was the Nerazzurri's fourth successive win over Genoa at the Luigi Ferraris, with the home side failing to score on each occasion. Genoa drop to eighth place in the table on 18 points, two behind Inter and Palermo in sixth.