Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku started their Inter Milan career on a perfect note as their Serie A club smashed Lecce 4-0, with the Belgian scoring one of the goals.
Diego Godin was injured and Stefan de Vrij pulled out during the warm-up, so Andrea Ranocchia stepped into defence, with Romelu Lukaku making his debut from the starting XI. Mauro Icardi and Joao Mario weren’t even on the bench, as they are transfer-listed. The newly-promoted visitors missed Biagio Meccariello, Riccardo Fiamozzi and Simone Lo Faso.
Stefano Sensi’s early curler was deflected over, but the Salentini were anything but defensive, Marcelo Brozovic forced into an acrobatic clearance as the cross fell kindly for Gianluca Lapadula.
Lukaku tried a coast-to-coast from a Lecce corner and almost managed to set up Lautaro Martinez, but there was a last-ditch interception.
Lecce came even closer at the other end, because Samir Handanovic came flying outside his penalty area for a tackle on Lapadula, the striker still turned and the lob was cleared in front of an empty net by Milan Skriniar.
It was end-to-end stuff at San Siro and Lautaro Martinez missed a gilt-edged opportunity, his free header on Antonio Candreva’s cross bouncing off the ground and back over the bar.
The deadlock was broken by a moment of magic, as Marcelo Brozovic curled a stunner into the far top corner from just outside the box, unstoppable for Gabriel.
Moments later, after another Lautaro header gone wrong, Stefano Sensi added a second goal. His first attempt was charged down by teammate Matias Vecino, but he found more room just inside the penalty area and nutmegged a defender with his daisy-cutter finish into the far bottom corner.
Kwadwo Asamoah’s angled drive was fingertipped round the upright and Lapadula almost pounced on Brozovic uncertainty in the box.
Falco was very lively and went on a slalom through the Inter defence at the dawn of the second half, his finish eventually deflected for a corner from six yards.
Lukaku breezed past Luca Rossettini, but over-hit the roll across for Lautaro Martinez. Instead, they combined the other way for the Belgian’s debut Serie A goal.
Gabriel only parried a long-range Lautaro strike into the path of Lukaku for the simple tap-in, an ideal way to mark his arrival.
Brozovic attempted another curler, inches past the far top corner, and Lautaro’s scorcher skimmed the bar from distance.
Diego Farias came off the bench to make his Lecce debut and was shown a straight red card just 16 minutes later for his utterly reckless challenge from behind on former Cagliari teammate Nicolò Barella. He completely mistimed the lunge and raked his studs down the back of Barella’s calf.
Matteo Politano thought he’d scored a fourth late on, just three minutes after his introduction, but Lukaku was offside and jumped over the ball to let it through.
It was Candreva who got the fourth goal, capping off his best performance for years. The winger gathered from 30 metres out and unleashed an unstoppable missile that swerved into the far top corner, giving Gabriel no chance and sending the San Siro crowd wild.
Inter Milan: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Skriniar; Candreva, Vecino (Barella 65), Brozovic, Sensi (Gagliardini 72), Asamoah; Lautaro Martinez (Politano 78), R Lukaku
Lecce: Gabriel; Rispoli (Benzar 72), Rossettini, Lucioni, Calderoni; Petriccione (Mancosu 61), Tachtsidis, Majer; Falco; La Mantia (Farias 61), Lapadula
Ref: La Penna
Sent off: Farias 77 (L)
Photo Credit: Twitter/inter.it