MILAN: Inter Milan made it two from two in Serie A with Saturday’s comfortable 3-0 win over Spezia on Romelu Lukaku’s return to the San Siro, while Domenico Berardi fired Sassuolo to a 1-0 win over Lecce.
Lautaro Martinez, Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa struck in front of a large and enthusiastic home crowd to ensure a perfect six points for Simone Inzaghi’s Inter as they bid to reclaim the league title from local rivals AC Milan.
Champions Milan make the short trip to Atalanta on Sunday in the weekend’s headline match.
Lukaku might not have scored in front of his adoring fans before being substituted in the 68th minute, but he was key to Inter’s first two goals.
His perfect knock-down from Nicolo Barella’s clipped pass allowed Martinez to break the deadlock 10 minutes before half-time, lashing home his opening goal of the season.
It was the first sign of the rebirth of a partnership which devastated Serie A during Lukaku’s first spell at Inter before his disastrous big-money move to Chelsea last summer.
“We’re happy because we played well. We have six points,” said Martinez when asked if he was pleased the combo nicknamed ‘LuLa’ was back in action.
Belgium forward Lukaku then began the move which led to Calhanoglu doubling the hosts’ lead seven minutes after the break.
His charge towards the Spezia area ended with a cool low finish past Bartlomiej Dragowski from Turkey international Calhanoglu.
Also involved in Inter’s second was Milan Skriniar, who according to Italian media is no longer for sale after a summer of speculation that the Slovakia defender was on his way to Paris Saint-Germain.
Correa completed the scoring in the 82nd minute with a simple strike, brilliantly set up by fellow substitute Edin Dzeko.
Italy forward Berardi celebrated his new contract with Sassuolo by crashing home a winner against Lecce which left their promoted opponents on zero points.
The 28-year-old committed his future to the club on Wednesday by signing a three-year extension until 2027.
“I have to say that it’s been a good week,” said Berardi to DAZN.
“For me Sassuolo is a big family, I’ve stayed because they’ve taken care of me since I was a child and in the end the heart wants what the heart wants.”
Berardi ensured Alessio Dionisi’s side, thumped by Juventus on Monday, got off the mark when he met a clearance from a corner with a volley which arrowed into the net.
It was the 102nd Serie A goal by Berardi, who has played his entire professional career at Sassuolo and was part of the team which got them into the top flight for the first time in 2013.
Sassuolo will need Berardi on top form after losing centre-forward Gianluca Scamacca to West Ham and Giacomo Raspadori, whose move to Napoli was confirmed just after the end of Saturday’s matches.
The early games passed off without much incident, with goalless draws between Torino and Lazio, and Udinese against Salernitana.