As champions Napoli were held 2-2 at promoted Genoa, Inter Milan put down an early championship flag on Saturday by crushing AC Milan 5-1 in their rivalry and taking it alone at the top of Serie A.
With a perfect 12 points from their first four games, Inter is two points ahead of their bitter rivals Juventus, who defeated Lazio 3-1 in the first game of the day.
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After suffering a crushing first-round loss, Milan is now one point behind in third place. On Tuesday, they will host Newcastle United in the Champions League.
Encouraged by most of the boisterous and throbbing San Siro audience, Inter won their sixth consecutive derby in all competitions with goals from Marcus Thuram, two late goals from Hakan Calhanoglu and Davide Frattesi, and a brace from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The team led by Simone Inzaghi secured the victory with a performance that demonstrated why they defeated Milan to go to the Champions League final the previous year and cemented their position as the early favorites to defeat their local rivals for a record-breaking 20th Scudetto.
Mkhitaryan said to DAZN, “We want to keep going. We’ve started the season brilliantly.”
“I don’t care who plays; we’re all here for the same goal, and the coach will choose the player who gives it their all to be the second star (on the shirt for 20 titles).”
Thuram, wearing an Inter jersey, maintained his rapid start and was instrumental in Mkhitaryan’s first goal in the fifth minute.
Milan smashes Inter
Thuram, a striker for France, outran Malick Thiaw and then found Federico Dimarco, whose mishit effort was tipped in by the former midfielder of Armenia.
Seven minutes before halftime, Thuram again demonstrated Inter’s dominance after a quick breakaway initiated by Lautaro Martinez. He collected a pass from Denzel Dumfries, cut inside the helpless Thiaw, and crashed in an unstoppable shot from the edge of the area.
With 45 minutes remaining, it seemed like the game would end in a draw, but Rafael Leao cut the lead in half in the 57th minute by rolling in his second goal of the year after Olivier Giroud set him up superbly.
As a heavy rain drenched the San Siro, Mkhitaryan silenced Milan’s boisterous “away” supporters with his deflected second goal of the game, following a feed from Martinez. Leao’s finish was Inter’s first goal surrendered this season.
Milan and coach Stefano Pioli were left with even more scars after Calhanoglu’s penalty in the 79th minute and a clean finish in stoppage time from Frattesi, who had just scored two goals for Italy at the same venue on Tuesday.
“I don’t believe we should apologize to our supporters. Do you believe we intended to give Inter five goals?” Despite losing every Milan derby by an aggregate score of 12-1 in 2023, Pioli remained stubborn.
“You ask for forgiveness when you purposefully don’t do something, and we’re disappointed.”
Napoli wins the point.
Napoli’s championship defense is still faltering after the champions rallied late to steal a point from Genoa, down by two goals.
After been defeated by Lazio before to the international break, Rudi Garcia’s team now trails Inter by five points after the draw at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, which was made possible by goals from Italy internationals Giacomo Raspadori and Matteo Politano in the last fifteen minutes of play.
Politano told Sky Sport in Italy, “We have work to do, but we had very little time to prepare for this match because a lot of players only came back (from international duty) yesterday.”
Five minutes before halftime, Mattia Bani gave Genoa the lead with a header. In the 56th minute, Italy striker Mateo Retegui finished off a ball from Kevin Strootman to score the team’s second goal.
Retegui has scored twice since joining Genoa from Boca Juniors in July, and his goal on Saturday seemed certain to earn Genoa an incredible second victory of the year.
But in the 76th minute, Raspadori blasted home his first goal of the year to put Napoli back in the game.
And with six minutes left, Politano turned Piotr Zielinski’s lofted ball into a spectacular volley that allowed Napoli to rescue a draw.