Inter Milan produced a dominant display to beat Spezia 3-0 and notch a second consecutive Serie A win on Saturday, with Lautaro Martinez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa getting on the scoresheet at San Siro.
The Nerazzurri required a last-gasp winner to beat Lecce in their league opener last weekend but had no such worries in their home bow, as they recorded a victory that could have been even more comfortable.
Recently reunited strike partners Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez combined for the opening goal, as the Chelsea loanee nodded a pass into the path of the Argentine, who fired home a lethal finish.
Lukaku came close himself when he hit the bar on the brink of half-time, and he was again involved in the build-up when Calhanoglu fired home Inter’s second early in the second half. Substitute Correa added a third late on.
The result puts Inter top of the Serie A standings for now, but their major title rivals don’t play their second-round games until Sunday or Monday.
The hosts dominated possession from the off but struggled to find a way through Spezia’s five-man defence; Bartlomiej Dragowski’s save on a Denzel Dumfries header was the biggest early chance.
The Nerazzurri attack eventually started to flex its muscles as Martinez hit the side-netting and Dumfries blazed over, and the Argentine found the breakthrough when he raced onto Lukaku’s nod-down to hammer home an unstoppable finish.
Inter wanted a second before the break and came close when Dragowski denied Dumfries with his foot, before Lukaku’s close-range header hit the bar and Martinez fired over from six yards.
Any hope of an unlikely Spezia revival was snuffed out seven minutes into the second half, when an interception rolled invitingly into the path of Calhanoglu, who fired home his side’s second.
The visitors offered next to nothing in attack and Inter eventually added a third when their replacement strike duo of Edin Dzeko and Correa linked up, the former teeing up the latter for a close-range finish.
TALKING POINT – THE RETURN OF LULA
After a tricky opening game against Lecce, where Inter needed a 95th-minute goal from Dumfries to snatch three points, the Nerazzurri enjoyed a much more relaxed evening at San Siro.
One of the things they will have enjoyed the most was seeing the partnership nicknamed ‘LuLa’ – Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez – bringing back the good old days in Milan.
The two strikers were a lethal combination during their previous spell together, winning Serie A in 2020/21, and the victory over Spezia involved flashes of their old chemistry once again.
The first goal was the stand-out moment, as Lukaku drew defenders in and knew exactly where to find his team-mate in space with a nod-down.
But the pair linked up well throughout the match and Lukaku was unlucky not to get a goal of his own after hitting the bar late in the first half. Serie A defences might be concerned by the warning signs.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – LAUTARO MARTINEZ
Inter were relying on Martinez’s outstanding finishing ability to make the breakthrough against Spezia’s packed defence – and he duly delivered in style.
The Argentine’s wonderful strike into the bottom corner on his ‘weaker’ left foot was a superb piece of skill, but his all-round contribution to Inter’s attacking efforts were impressive.
Inter Milan: Handanovic 6; Skriniar 6, De Vrij 6, A Bastoni 7; Dumfries 7, Barella 7, Brozovic 7, Calhanoglu 8, Dimarco 7; Lautaro Martinez 8, Lukaku 7. Subs: Gosens 6, Dzeko 7, Gagliardini 6, Correa 7, Asllani N/A
Spezia: Dragowski 7; Caldara 6, Kiwior 6, Nikolaou 6; Gyasi 6, Bourabia 6, Sala 6, S Bastoni 6, Reca 6; Agudelo 6, Nzola 5. Subs: Hristov 6, Strelec 6, Kovalenko 6, Holm N/A, Ellertsson N/A
35’ – GOAL! (Martinez) INTER 1-0 SPEZIA
A classic LuLa link-up puts Inter ahead with their first home goal of the season. A high pass to Lukaku is nodded down by the Belgian into Martinez’s path, and the Argentina international smashes a finish into the bottom corner from outside the box.
44’ – BAR! INTER 1-0 SPEZIA
Lukaku is inches away from doubling Inter’s lead. The striker gets on the end of Bastoni’s cross, but his header from six yards out hits the bar.
52’ GOAL! (Calhanoglu) INTER 2-0 SPEZIA
Lukaku dribbles into the box and lays off a pass to Skriniar. The defender’s attempted return ball is intercepted, but only as far as Calhanoglu, who guides a low finish home.
82’ GOAL! (Correa) INTER 3-0 SPEZIA
Dzeko races onto a ball over the top and squares a pass to Correa, who rounds a defender before tapping in from six yards.