With the Genoa sun beating down on the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Sunday afternoon, it was easy to understand why the Inter players looked so exhausted as they left the pitch an exhausting 2-2 draw against Sampdoria in Serie A., which ended her perfect start in her attempted Scudetto defense.
But even if the weather will have played a role for many players after a three-game international break, as Simone Inzaghi’s team had a hard time asserting themselves, this should not serve to detract from their sluggish performance.
From the moment Daniele Orsato’s whistle signaled the whistle, the Blucerchiati were much brighter, with an energy and determination that the Nerazzurri seldom achieved, and were unsettled by the early pressure on them. He made several casual mistakes and fell almost behind within four minutes when Morten Thorsby strolled between two defenders and headed just over the bar.
Despite Victory against Genoa on the opening weekend 4-0, the 3-1 win over Hellas Verona before the international break, when two late goals from Joaquin Correa saved three points, emphasized an increased defensive weakness and how much the Biscione attack is weakened by the loss of Romelu Lukaku.
Against Sampdoria, these shortcomings were exposed again as the Nerazzurri managed only eight shots on goal (five on goal) and three of them came in the first period when Inter led 2-1 into halftime with a stunning free-kick from Federico Dimarco -kick and a goal by Lautaro Martinez in added time.
The goal of the Argentine international was the only real moment of the offensive quality of the guests in the open game. Hakan Calhanoglu stole the ball from the hesitant Mikkel Damsgaard, let Nicolo Barella drive forward and sent a quick cross home for Martinez.
It was only when compatriot Correa came off the bench that the Nerazzurri scored another shot on goal in the 74th minute when Blucerchiati goalkeeper Emil Audero deflected the deflected shot from the South American over the crossbar.
In the full 90 minutes, Inter made just 56 attacks on the Sampdoria goal, while the hosts nearly doubled that (107) and were content to face the growing pressure rather than looking for a winner. Perhaps you remember that Il Doria was one of only three teams they beat last season?
While the Nerazzurri have the quality to scoop plenty of points this season, even with so few scoring opportunities, few will be as wasteful as the Blucerchiati and Real Madrid will certainly benefit from a similar performance in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
However, with the movement and dynamism Martinez and Correa can offer alongside an aging Edin Dzeko, Inzaghi certainly has the tools to challenge Inter for the title in May.