Hakan Calhanoglu produced an inspirational display as Inter continued warming up for the Serie A kick-off with a 6-0 friendly win over Crotone on Wednesday. The Turkish midfielder ran amok in the first half, setting up Martin Satriano and Federico Dimarco before getting on the score sheet himself. After the interval, Calhanoglu made it a hat-trick of assists by playing in Andrea Pinamonti. Stefano Sensi and Marcelo Brozovic then completed the scoring.
The Nerazzurri were playing Crotone almost three months after the last time they faced them, when a 2-0 win at the Stadio Scida all but handed Inter the Scudetto title. This pre-season fixture at the Suning Training Centre was an entirely different matter of course, but Simone Inzaghi's men were still keen to do themselves justice. The coach made a few changes to the side that started against Lugano, bringing Milan Skriniar, Stefan de Vrij, Calhanoglu and Brozovic into the team and fielding Dimarco in left midfield. Francesco Modesto set his own team up in a 3-4-2-1 formation but they struggled to get the measure of Inter from the off.
The game’s opener came after 10 minutes from Satriano, a star of this pre-season. The 20-year-old Uruguayan striker found space in the box and powered a header from Calhanoglu’s corner into the net. The Turkish midfielder continued to find pockets for his team-mates, and the second goal came in the 22nd minute when Dimarco was played in on the left and his near-post shot beat the keeper. Inter got their third through Calhanoglu, who picked up a pass in midfield from Pinamonti and curled a shot into the far post from the edge of the box. They almost found a fourth before half time when Pinamonti’s shot crashed against the post. After the break, Sensi, Andrea Ranocchia and Romelu Lukaku were brought into the game. But it was Pinamonti who continued to drive Inter forward, and his left-footed strike across goal hit the post and found the net – another goal assisted by Calhanoglu, who finished with three to add to his one goal. Two minutes later, Brozovic’s tackle ended up at Sensi’s feet, whose close-range effort was the fifth goal of the afternoon. Lukaku, who was still working on his fitness, then set Brozovic up to make it 6-0 to Inter in the 65th minute, after controlling a difficult ball and laying it off for the Croatian to convert.
The final stages of the game saw Arturo Vidal return to the pitch alongside a host of Inter youth players. Lukaku went close to scoring a seventh, but it was not to be, and the match finished 6-0.
Inter 6-0 Crotone (HT 3-0)
Scorers: Satriano 10 (I), Dimarco (I) 22, Calhanoglu 27 (I), Pinamonti 56 (I), Sensi 58 (I), Brozovic 65 (I)
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic (21 Cordaz 72'); 37 Skriniar (45 Sottini 78'), 6 de Vrij (42 Moretti 72'), 11 Kolarov (13 Ranocchia 46'); 36 Darmian (47 Carboni 75'), 44 Nainggolan (12 Sensi 46'), 77 Brozovic (18 Agoumé 72'), 20 Calhanoglu (22 Vidal 59'), 32 Dimarco (46 Zanotti 75'); 48 Satriano (9 Lukaku 46'), 99 Pinamonti (16 Salcedo 72').
Subs not used: 99 Radu, 41 Nunziatini.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
CROTONE (3-4-2-1): 12 Festa (Saro 46'); 3 Nedelcearu, 6 Marrone, 5 Mondonico; 29 Rispoli (Bruzzaniti 46'), 21 Zanellato ( Juwara 57'), 16 Vulic, 17 Molina; 8 Borello (Giannotti 46'), 20 Rojas (Mulattieri 57'); 24 Kargbo.
Subs not used: D’Aprile, Tutyskinas, Zak, Ranieri, Yakubiv, Petriccione, Nanni.
Coach: Francesco Modesto.