Former Manchester United stricker, Romelu Lukaku scored on his Inter Milan debut as Antonio Conte’s reign began with an impressive 4-0 victory over Lecce at the San Siro.
Club-record signing Lukaku started up front on Monday with former Inter Milan captain, Mauro Icardi left out of Conte’s squad amid continued uncertainty over his future at the club.
Marcelo Brozovic and Stefano Sensi struck excellent goals in the space of four first-half minutes then Lukaku snaffled a rebound for his maiden Inter goal.
Promoted Lecce’s day went from bad to worse when substitute Diego Farias rightly saw red for a terrible tackle on another new Inter arrival Nicolo Barella, before Antonio Candreva’s 84th-minute stunner from range.
Inter, who had to replace Stefan de Vrij with Andrea Ranocchia after the Dutchman’s injury in the warm-up, took time to find their feet but scored the first goal of the Conte era in the 21st minute.
Inter are being widely backed as the most likely contenders to usurp Juventus thanks to the arrival of Conte – a three-time Scudetto-winning coach with the Bianconeri.
He used his typical system of three at the back and although Inter initially showed signs of nerves they went on to dominate Fabio Liverani’s side, who almost certainly face a relegation battle after successive promotions.
Having lost his place at Old Trafford last term, there were suggestions an old-school style operator like Lukaku could find himself left behind as elite European teams seek more mobile strikers to lead the line.
But Conte has always preferred a strong “reference” point for his attack and Lukaku fits that billing, with the Belgium international impressing when he dropped deep to link the play and showing a poacher’s instinct to open his Nerazzurri account.
Inter return to action on Sunday with a trip to Cagliari, who signed Radja Nainggolan on loan during the close season, while Lecce will hope for a fairer test of their top-flight mettle when they host Verona on the same day.