Leonardo's Inter Milan increase its confidence ahead of Coppa Italia final appearance
The encounter was billed as a ‘nothing game’ due to Inter’s failure to take the title race to the last day, and Catania’s safety from the relegation battle, and indeed Leonardo played something of an under-strength team in mind of Inter’s up-coming Coppa Italia final against Palermo.
However, from the outset, both teams seemed desperate to prove a point on the last day of the season, and an end to end game of attacking football ensued, with Inter seeing lots of the football while the Sicilians looked dangerous on the counter attack.
Inter was determined to give a good account of itself to the home faithful and it was they who drew first blood after 17 minutes when good work from Kharja allowed him to poke the ball to Giampaolo Pazzini and the Italian made no mistake with a firm sweeping finish.
The home side were now looking to dominate proceedings and that’s exactly what they did for the remainder of the first half with most of their chances being created by a highly impressive Kharja, allowing Eto’o and Pazzini to continue to get shots away.
The visitors held out until the half time whistle, but the team talk seemed to have no effect as Diego Simeone’s men immediately found themselves two down after the break as Pazzini doubled his and Inter’s tally, tapping in a precision cross from substitute Diego Milito, to make it 2-0 Inter.
Things went from bad to worse for Catania and it was soon 3-0 when Yuto Nagatomo picked up the ball on the right and unleashed a fabulous strike leaving the keeper with no chance and the Rossazzurri with seemingly no route back into the game.
The visitors managed a reply three minutes later however, when Pablo Ledesma used space in the box efficiently to fire into the bottom corner and give his team a lifeline.
It was to prove of little use however, and the Nerazzuri soon regained their dominant form with Kharja and Nagatomo in particular consistently causing problems down the flanks for the hosts.
Inter comfortably saw out the victory and the final whistle, which blew with the scores at 3-1, was greeted by a warm reception from The San Siro who applauded the teams efforts in Serie A this season, while players and fans alike look ahead to the looming Coppa Italia final.
Meanwhile Catania supporters may not be impressed with today's performance but they can look forward to participating in Italy's top flight next year.