The reigning world champions ended their recent slump with a convincing performance, with goals either side of half-time capping a largely dominant outing on home soilInter returned to winning ways in Serie A with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Fiorentina at San Siro on Saturday evening.
Goals either side of the break from Giampaolo Pazzini and Yuto Nagatomo proved enough to see off the visitors, who have still to win away from home.
Pazzini, who had failed to score in the league since September, finally found the net when racing onto Philippe Coutinho's pass to poke home in the 41st minute. He then provided the pass for Nagatomo to breach the Fiorentina defence four minutes after the break as Inter made the game safe with plenty of time to spare.
Pazzini had a glorious opportunity to open the scoring in only the fourth minute after Coutinho drifted into the centre and put him through on goal, but the former Viola player could only toe-poke an effort straight at Artur Boruc.
The Brazilian then forced a save from Boruc himself after turning Alessandro Gamberini inside out on the right of the penalty area, unleashing a right-footed effort and the Pole had to get down quickly to keep the effort out.
More great play by Coutinho led to Diego Milito sending in Nagatomo, but again the goalkeeper was alert, forcing the Japanese to settle for a corner.
Inter finally got the lead their play deserved on 41 minutes, and it was almost inevitably Pazzini who scored it. The former Fiorentina striker ghosted in behind Cesare Natali from Coutinho’s lofted pass and poked home superbly ahead of Boruc from a narrow angle.
And four minutes after the interval their lead was doubled, as Nagatomo’s run at the heart of the visitors’ defence resulted in hesitation, leaving the full-back to trot onto the end of Pazzini’s through ball and then tap home unattended.
The introduction of 19-year-old substitute Amidu Salifu helped to perk up Delio Rossi’s side, but Inter continued to make chances.
Substitute Sulley Muntari, Pazzini and Mauro Zarate all went close for the home side, while Alberto Gilardino came within a whisker of scoring a consolation effort at the other end.The victory lifts Inter into the top half of the table for the first time this season, climbing into eighth position ahead of tomorrow's fixtures. However, they will continue their attempts to claw back territory on the teams above them when they travel to Genoa on Tuesday evening.
Fiorentina remain entrenched in the bottom half, sitting 12th on 16 points. They host Atalanta next Saturday needing a win to get back into the race for European football.