By David Rodich
After being down a goal at the break, Inter scored five in the second half to defeat Genoa 5-2 in the San Siro.
Despite spending much of the first half on the attack, Inter lacked the craft and team cohesion to capitalize on their efforts. It was a double blow as they left themselves vulnerable at the back, giving away a Genoa goal five minutes before halftime as Palacio slotted a well-placed shot past Cesar.
Inter recuperated quickly in the second half though, finding the net two times in the opening six minutes with Pazinni finishing a Maicon pass and Eto’o finding the rebound of a Goran Pandev shot. Eto’o got another in the 57th when he took the ball off the Genoa defense just outside of the box and went straight to goal, scoring his 18th of the season. The match now took on a different complexion with the scoreline of 3-1. This meant that Genoa was desperately stretched in search of comeback goals, leaving the door open for Inter to get two more (Pandev 70’, Nagatomo 84’) to Genoa’s one (Boselli 90’) before the whistle blew, bringing the final tally to 5-2.
Leonardo underplayed his influence at halftime stating, “There were no magic words said during the break. The team knew they had underperformed in the first half; there was no need to say anything.”
He also tamped out comparisons to renowned halftime motivators Jose Mourinho and Fabio Capello (whose record of best Serie A coaching start Leonardo just bested). “Did I do a Mourinho during the interval? I have my own way,” the coach explained. “There’s no need to do a Mourinho or a Capello: imitating others is more difficult than being yourself.”
Inter are now in second place, five points behind on-form neighbors Milan, who they face in three weeks. Also looming is the difficult challenge of traveling to Munich next Tuesday to play Bayern in the return leg. A goal down in the aggregate, Inter will have to be in top form to keep the defense of their Champions League title alive. Meanwhile, the team will also have to continue winning the so-called ‘routine’ matches in the Serie A, the first of which is Friday against Brescia.