Romelu Lukaku claimed a brace while new signing Achraf Hakimi scored one and made another as Inter coasted to a 5-2 Serie A victory at Filippo Inzaghi’s Benevento.
Antonio Conte’s side needed two goals in the final three minutes to begin their campaign with a thrilling 4-3 win against Fiorentina, and while they found the net frequently again, this triumph was much more straightforward.
Lukaku scored twice in the opening 28 minutes, either side of Roberto Gagliardini’s effort, before newly promoted Benevento pulled one back through Gianluca Caprari.
Yet Hakimi and substitute Lautaro Martinez also found the net as Conte comprehensively won the battle of the former Juve team-mates, despite a second Caprari goal late on.
2 – Achraf #Hakimi has provided an assist in both his first 2 games played for Inter: the last Nerazzurri player to made an assist in the first 2 Serie A apps was Houssine Kharja in 2011. Morocco. pic.twitter.com/z2gnclsO38
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) September 30, 2020
Inter had fallen behind within three minutes against Fiorentina on Saturday, but this time they were the ones that raced out of the blocks.
A long raking pass from Aleksandar Kolarov reached Hakimi and, after a one-two with Alexis Sanchez, he crossed for Lukaku to find the net just 28 seconds in.
Hakimi, making his full debut for the Nerazzurri, was then involved in his side’s second when his deep delivery found Ashley Young, whose lay-off was emphatically smashed home by Gagliardini.
The midfielder then turned provider for Inter’s third after being gifted possession by Lorenzo Montipo, with Lukaku only needing to sort his feet out before being left with a simple finish.
Montipo’s opposite number Samir Handanovic made a similar error in passing straight to Caprari, who pulled one back for Benevento, but Hakimi stole in ahead of Luca Caldirola to restore Inter’s three-goal cushion.
The home side should have conceded five in the first period but Arturo Vidal missed the target with a close-range header, and Benevento improved after the break, Gabriele Moncini hitting the post shortly after the restart.
Yet the woodwork denied Gagliardini too before a fifth and final Inter goal came courtesy of substitute Martinez 19 minutes from time, with Sanchez getting the assist.
Caprari at least made the final margin of defeat less severe with his second, though Inter could have had a sixth as Ivan Perisic somehow fired wide from Hakimi’s cross and Christian Eriksen hit the bar.
What does it mean? Free-scoring Inter impress
Defending champions Juventus’ draw with Roma at the weekend gave Inter a chance to steal an early march on their title rivals, and they took it here to make it two wins from two.
Conte’s side had won their previous two away games in Serie A without conceding a goal, so the coach will be slightly concerned about how many chances Benevento had ahead of games against Lazio and Milan.
Hakimi making a difference already
No one made more key passes than Inter right-back Hakimi’s three, while the Morocco international had a goal, an assist, a second assist and delivered four crosses, two of which were considered good.
It is early days but Hakimi already looks like a shrewd acquisition from Real Madrid.
— Inter (@Inter_en) September 30, 2020
Perisic has inexplicable miss
Given the wealth of attacking options now at Conte’s disposal, Perisic can ill afford poor performances.
Inter’s late fightback against Fiorentina came after Perisic was taken off and his late miss here – when it looked easier to score – will not have gone unnoticed by Conte as he ponders who to pick in the key fixtures coming up.
A trip to Lazio on Sunday ahead of the international break should provide Inter with a sterner test, while Benevento will hope to bounce back at home to Bologna.