A fortuitous goal from Sulley Muntari helped Inter Milan secure a 1-0 away win against Genoa. The win result moves the defending Italian champions into second place on the Serie A league table.
The Ghana midfielder came on early in the game as a replacement for the injured Esteban Cambiasso and his seemingly harmless shot deep into first-half stoppage time skidded past Genoa goalkeeper Eduardo.
Inter coach Rafael Benitez said he was happier with his side's performance, following last week's home draw with Sampdoria. "Our character came shining through, it's true that (Samuel) Eto'o missed an easy chance but after the break we created five or six more."
Genoa coach Gian Piero Gasperini, meanwhile, believed his team deserved more. "At the end we played more physically, we could have got at least a draw. I'm disappointed we dropped these points but we played with great spirit."
Inter defended well in the second half to keep hold of all three points, but they paid dearly for the win with Cambiasso and Julio Cesar picking up injuries. Luca Toni looked particularly motivated in the Genoa attack and he tested Julio Cesar with a curling shot from the left which the Inter goalkeeper chose to parry wide in the 21st minute. Toni then combined well with Giandomenico Mesto, who tried to place his shot delicately past Julio Cesar but failed to seriously test the Brazil international.
At the other end, Samuel Eto'o will be wondering how he contrived to shoot wide of the right-hand post from level with the penalty spot after he met Muntari's inviting low cross from the left. Genoa missed an even better chance to score in the 41st minute when Chico pulled the ball back from the goal line to Marco Rossi, who dragged his shot wide of the far post from eight yards out.
The injury to Cambiasso and treatment for Chico meant there were three minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half - and Inter took full advantage. A speculative 25-yard shot from Muntari bounced just in front of Genoa goalkeeper Eduardo, who made a poor attempt to save and the ball skimmed his shoulder on its way in. The home fans stood by their goalkeeper, chanting his name, but the error from the Portugal international proved to be a costly one. Genoa failed to recover, although Eduardo at least made partial amends by denying Jonathan Biabiany in the 52nd minute after he beat the offside trap.
Julio Cesar limped out of the game with what looked like a serious hamstring injury which makes him a doubt for Inter's UEFA Champions League tie with Tottenham Hotspur next week. He was replaced by former Sampdoria goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi, who made saves from Toni and Mattia Destro before Domenico Criscito shot wide from the edge of the penalty area. Isaac Boakye blasted Genoa's last chance over the crossbar from a tight angle in the 89th minute as Inter held on for all three points.