Serie A - Ranieri's Inter start with a win

Fri, 23 Sep 15:45:00 2011

Claudio Ranieri made a winning start to his tenure at Internazionale as his side moved out of the relegation zone with a 3-1 victory over Bologna at Stadio Dall'Ara.

Lucio celebrates - 0

Giampaolo Pazzini gave the Nerazzurri a deserved lead in the first half but Alessandro Diamanti drew the hosts level from the penalty spot with just over an hour gone.

Diego Milito came on to win and convert a penalty with ten minutes to go before Lucio put the result beyond doubt with a header with just over four minutes remaining.

The much-needed win moves last season's runners-up into 11th but there is much work to be done following a cagey first game under their new coach.

Ranieri - appointed with the brief to halt an alarming run of form that had seen the Nerazzurri pick up a solitary point from their opening three Serie A league games - was not afforded the luxury of having to choose from a full-strength squad.

Chief amongst the absentees was Wesley Sneijder but former Roma coach Ranieri will be heartened by an industrious performance from his new charges even if it lacked the craft associated with the missing Dutchman.

As is often the case following a managerial change, Inter began with much industry - particularly Diego Forlan and Pazzini, who combined well and offered a threat in behind from the off.

And it was the Uruguayan who helped fashion the first clear-cut opportunity for the visitors, but Lucio could not find the back of the net from six yards after Bologna's defence had failed to clear Forlan's testing delivery early on.

Bologna, lacklustre as they were, did fashion a chance during the opening exchanges but, having beaten the offside trap to latch onto Panagiotis Kone's through-ball, Marco Di Vaio could not get his foot around the ball and saw his effort fly over and wide.

Inter were still in the ascendancy and in Forlan they have a player of genuine class. He continued to work the channels well and on one of the numerous occasions in the first half when he got in behind the Rossoblu's defence his cross just had too much on it for Pazzini.

Coutinho then dragged an effort wide of the goal of Jean-Francois Gillet as the pressure built before the inevitable goal came when the foraging Esteban Cambiasso found Pazzini on the edge of the home side's box.

The forward's driven shot had enough on it to squeeze in at the near post despite the best efforts of Gillet, who will count himself unlucky to have conceded considering he got a hand to it.

Inter, who were in complete control up until the goal, seemed to suffer under the strain of protecting the lead and sunk deep, inviting pressure from their hosts.

And an unnecessary challenge from Cristian Chivu on Diamanti on the edge of the area offered Pier Paolo Bisoli's side the chance of parity before the break but the felled forward's kick failed to trouble Julio Cesar as it clipped the wall to drift out for a corner.  

The half-time break came just at the right time for Inter, as they came out for the second period reinvigorated and were unlucky not to double their lead when Cambiasso's effort clipped the bar.

With Inter growing in confidence, Di Vaio gave them a timely reminder of Bologna's threat when his downward header forced Julio Cesar into a smart save, but with the warning heeded the visitors began to stretch their hosts.

Bologna continued to toil but, in truth, offered little threat going forward, and it was Inter's indiscipline that afforded them a way back into the match.

Lucio fouled Gaston Ramirez and when Julio Cesar pushed Ramirez 's free-kick around the post for a corner it appeared the danger had been averted, but Walter Samuel fouled Daniele Portanova from the resulting corner.

It was left to Diamanti to draw the sides level from the penalty spot.

Ranieri was christened 'the Tinkerman' during his time in England and his introduction of Milito swung the game in his side's favour - the Argentine doing well to win and convert the penalty to restore his side's advantage.

And with the hosts stretched the visitors then furthered their advantage with a Lucio header from close range following a Sulley Muntari free-kick.

Marcus Foley / Eurosport

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