An early cross from Matteo Darmian bounced unusually in front of Lecce’s defence, giving Romelu Lukaku, who was waiting patiently on the back post, an opportunity to head the ball into the open nets. Consequently, Inter took the lead in the second minute of the game.
An injury to Mert Çetin ended his debut for the Serie A newcomers as Alexis Blin came on to replace the Turkey international. Amid attacks from Inter and counter-attacks from Lecce, the first half ended with a 1-0 scoreline.
Right after the start of the second half, another pacey counter-attack from the hosts saw Federico Di Francesco laying off a through ball, which found Assan Ceesay. Without giving it much thought, the Gambian gave it a wild triumph. In what was the next thing, Ceesay and scores of home team supporters were celebrating Lecce’s return to the top flight.
It began to look as if the Inter would slip in their first hurdle. But Denzel Dumfries, coming off the bench in the second half, rescued the game, with an excellent sense of anticipation from the Dutch wing-back seeing Lautaro Martínez’s cross put into the goal to give the away side a late victory. Although the newbies of Serie A had to face a heartwrenching defeat, the Lecce rearguard and especially their goalkeeper, Wladimiro Falcone, deserve a praiseworthy mention. Here are the player ratings from Inter’s first league game of the 2022/23 season.
Lecce (4-3-3): Falcone (7.5); Gendrey (6.5), Baschirotto (6), Cetin (5.5), Gallo (6); Bistrovic (6), Hjulmand (6.5), Gonzalez (6); Strefezza (6), Ceesay (7), Di Francesco (6.5)
Substitutes: Blin (6.5), Colombo (5.5), Banda (6), Helgason (N/A), Listkowski (N/A)
Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic (6.5); Skriniar (5.5), De Vrij (6), Dimarco (6.5); Darmian (6.5), Barella (6), Brozovic (6), Calhanoglu (5.5), Gosens (5); Lukaku (6.5), Lautaro Martínez (6.5)
Substitutes: Mkhitaryan (5.5), Bastoni (6), Dumfries (7), Dzeko (6), Correa (N/A)
Inter have started the season with three points. Lecce will be looking to turn the tide in the next game. While the Nerazzurri host Spezia next week, the Paprica will make a trip to Sassuolo in the second round of the Serie A 2022/23 fixtures.
GIFN | Jyotirmoy Halder