Simone Inzaghi sent out the exact XI he used last week. Vincenzo Italiano handed starts to Oliver Christensen and Lucas Beltrán but otherwise left things the same as well, which was an early warning sign to Fiorentina fans who were worried about some tired legs after a draining outing against Rapid Wien.
Inter Milan started out the better side and remained that way throughout. Fiorentina dropped the tempo, keeping the ball at the back, but errors in possession meant the Nerazzurri were handed countless opportunities to counterattack, with the Viola forced into desperate defending to keep them out. The breakthrough finally arrived after Inter won the ball in the visitors’ third and lost it about 3 times before Federico Dimarco finally swung in a cross for Marcus Thuram to head home. It was shambolic despite the quality of the goal itself.
Powerful header from Marcus Thuram on this goal.— Raffaele (@ItalianoCalcio) September 3, 2023
Look at the work and cross from Federico Dimarco. pic.twitter.com/ESaM44RIny
If Italiano expected the goal to wake his side up, he was sorely mistaken. Fiorentina sputtered into Inter’s half a couple of times but did little once they arrived other than lose the ball and send their hosts galloping down the open pitch. Indeed, the Nerazzurri should’ve at least doubled their lead, but Thuram missed not one but two point blank chances, and Christensen made a superb save on a swerving Hakan Çalhanoğlu free kick. Things got a bit out of control with referee Matteo Marchetti having a torrid time, but the halftime curtain rang down on a vastly inferior Fiorentina needing to make huge changes.
Inter picked up right where it left off: battering an exhausted Fiorentina. Christensen watched Denzel Dumfries doink one off the upright, then made an amazing double save to keep the deficit a 1-0 but couldn’t do anything about another defensive breakdown after the Viola threw numbers forward and were duly punished by Lautaro Martínez as he found acres of space on the overload.
5 minutes later, another breakdown allowed Dimarco to waltz into the box and blast one straight at Christensen from close range. The goalkeeper blocked the initial shot but clattered into Thuram chasing the rebound, and Matteo Marchetti pointed right to the spot. Hakan Çalhanoğlu thumped it home, and there was the 3-0.
Were we done? Reader, we were not. Inter continued blitzing forward every time Fiorentina lost the ball—which was a constant occurrence—and threatened to add another at any moment, with Thuram particularly missing again. The hosts got the poker via none other than Martínez, who tucked home a nice low cross from none other than ex-Viola star Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina beffata!).
Juan Cuadrado to Lautaro Martinez for his SECOND goal of the evening! What a finish ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/6whZK5ByLq— Inter Xtra (@Inter_Xtra) September 3, 2023
The Viola never looked like scoring. Even a little bit. It was just miserable all day from everyone. Yikes.
Goals: Thuram 23’ (ass. Dimarco), Martínez 53’ (ass. Thuram) 73’ (ass. Cuadrado), Çalhanoğlu PK 58’
Cards: Barella 45’+6; Ranieri 39’, Italiano 60’ lol
The oblivion of an international break, thank goodness, awaits us. Italiano has plenty of work to do with this squad, but let’s also not pretend like playing last year’s Champions League finalist after that draining outing against Rapid Wien was ever going to end any other way. We’re going to hear a fortnight’s worth of doom and gloom from fans, but let’s not fall into that trap. Fiorentina was pretty bad to start last season as well and nearly got a couple of trophies. There are a lot of games left. Let’s all touch some grass outside and relax a little bit instead of going into full Poggibonsi mode.
When we come back, it’ll be against Atalanta at the Artemio Franchi, with another game on short rest against Genk in the Conference League 4 days later. Hopefully Cousin Vinnie will have integrated the new signings into the squad sufficiently by then to rotate a bit more and will have some key depth pieces—Jonathan Ikoné, Antonín Barák, Yerry Mina—fully healthy and ready to contribute.