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Inter has a new hero as Marcus Thuram helps the Nerazzurri rout Milan 5-1 in Serie A derby

Associated Press Sunday, 17 September 2023, 06:17 Last update: about 9 months ago

Inter Milan has a new star player — with a familiar name in Serie A — as Marcus Thuram helped the Nerazzurri beat fierce rival AC Milan 5-1 in a derby match on Saturday to maintain their perfect start to the season.

Thuram’s father Lilian, who won the World Cup with France in 1998, played as a defender for Parma and Juventus.

Thuram scored a superb goal to double Inter’s lead shortly before halftime, having had a significant hand in the fifth-minute opener. That was netted by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who also scored Inter’s third after Rafael Leão had got Milan back into the game amid a torrential downpour at San Siro.

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Former Milan midfielder Hakan Çalhanoğlu added a penalty 11 minutes from time and Davide Frattesi capped a great night for Inter in stoppage time.

It was Thuram’s second Inter goal in as many matches. He also has three assists in his four matches since joining on a free transfer from Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Inter coach Simone Inzaghi was asked if Thuram could become a better player than former Nerazzurri star Romelu Lukaku.

“This is clearly a comparison that time will tell,” Inzaghi responded with a laugh. "I don’t think it’s right to talk about individuals.

“Thuram was really good, he has to continue like this, he’s fitting in very well, he’s always ready but it’s reductive to talk about individuals tonight after we saw the whole squad working so well.”

Inter is now the only team to have won its four opening matches and the Nerazzurri moved two points ahead of Juventus, which beat Lazio 3-1 earlier. Milan is three points behind Inter.

Defending champion Napoli is five points behind Inter after coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Genoa.

Milan has now lost its last five derbies and this latest defeat to Inter was its heaviest against its bitter rival in 14 years. However, Rossoneri coach Stefano Pioli said his team had no need to apologize.

“Why should we apologize to the fans? Do you think we lost on purpose? Do you think we wanted to lose the derby? Do you think we wanted to concede five goals to Inter?” an irate Pioli said.

“We’re disappointed. We wanted to give something else to our fans, we didn’t manage that. I think you have to apologize when you’ve done something wrong, we tried to do everything we could.”

The Milan teams were the only ones with maximum points in Serie A coming into the Derby della Madonnina.

Inter got off to a great start as Thuram used his strength to hold off Milan defender Malick Thiaw and put in a low cross for Federico Dimarco, whose attempt at a shot was volleyed in by Mkhitaryan.

Thuram got on the scoresheet himself in the 38th minute when collected an overhit pass from Denzel Dumfries on the left side of the area and he was perhaps expected to cross but instead he cut past Thiaw and curled a sensational strike into the top right corner.

The rain began to fall heavily in the second half and Milan managed to get back into the match 12 minutes after the break as Leão slotted home an inspired pass from Olivier Giroud. It was the first time Inter had conceded this season.

However, Inter restored its two-goal advantage in the 69th when Mkhitaryan finished off a good team move and the Nerazzurri sealed the result when Çalhanoğlu blasted home a penalty after Théo Hernandez tripped Lautaro Martínez.

Frattesi, who scored two goals for Italy against Ukraine in the same stadium on Tuesday, capped a great week with his first Inter goal.

NAPOLI FIGHTS BACK

Rudi Garcia's substitutions helped Napoli avoid a second successive loss.

Matteo Politano was brought on at halftime and Giacomo Raspadori 13 minutes later. Raspadori gave Napoli a chance of rescuing a point when he netted in the 76th minute, and Politano volleyed in the equalizer with six minutes remaining.

Goals from Mattia Bani and Mateo Retegui either side of halftime had given newly promoted Genoa hope of a famous win over the Italian champion.

Retegui has four goals in five matches for Genoa.

UNBEATEN JUVE

Dušan Vlahović struck twice to help ensure a convincing win for Juventus and take his tally to four goals in the opening four matches.

Vlahović opened the scoring in the 10th minute when he volleyed in Manuel Locatelli's cross and Federico Chiesa doubled Juve’s lead 16 minutes later with his third goal of the season.

Luis Alberto pulled one back for Lazio in the 64th but Vlahović doubled his tally three minutes later with a fantastic solo effort as he chested down United States international Weston McKennie’s long ball and fired into the far bottom corner.

McKennie had also had a part to play in Juve’s other two goals.

Juventus remained unbeaten while it was Lazio’s third loss.

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