The hosts saw the majority of possession in a combative opening 10 minutes, but struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities in the offensive third against Sampdoria’s pack mentality defense.
On 11 minutes, a flowing Inter counter attack saw Rodrigo Palacio burst into the box after neat interplay with Diego Milito, but the former Genoa man blasted over the bar from a promising position.
At the other end, the home crowd experienced a moment of panic when a Gaetano Berardi cross-shot nearly caught out Samir Handanovic at the far post.
The match began to take on a quicker pace as Milito embarked on a mazy run, beating a number of defenders skillfully, but was closed down by last-ditch defending in the penalty area.
In the 18th minute it was Palacio’s chance to go for goal once again, sending a bullet header just wide of the mark from a curling Alvaro Pereira free-kick.
Just moments later, Sampdoria took the lead completely against the run of play. A goalmouth scramble following a set-piece saw the ball fall to the feet of Gianni Munari, and the 29 year-old made no mistake in stabbing home from close range to put the Blucherati on top.
The home side continued to push forward after conceding, but found life in the penalty area difficult with Diro Ferrara’s men often getting behind the ball in numbers. Antonio Cassano saw a great chance go begging as he brought down a Pereira cross in space 10 yards out, but the Italy international scuffed the penultimate shot.
On 34 minutes, Fant’Antonio fed Pereira down the left with an intelligent through ball, and the Uruguayan quickly crossed across the face of goal. Sergio Romero was only able to weakly push the ball away into the path of Fredy Guarin, but the former Porto man blazed his shot wide.
Just before half time, Palacio thieved the ball in midfield and came roaring into the offensive third, playing Cassano down the right into space. The controversial former Sampdoria man whipped a cross across the box, but Milito was just too late in arriving and failed to get a touch from only a few yards out.
After the restart, disaster struck for Sampdoria. Andrea Costa barged into Milito as the Argentine ran in on goal, giving away a penalty and receiving a straight red card to reduce the Blucerchiati to 10 men. El Principe stepped up to take the spot kick, banging his effort in off of the upright to equalise.
The Nerazzurri pushed forward on the front foot with their man advantage, utilising extra space to send a wealth of crosses into the area. Substitute Esteban Cambiasso came close to tapping in at the far post on 64 minutes after good work by Palacio, but just barely couldn’t get onto the end of a ball across the face of goal.
On 69 minutes, Inter broke through to take the lead. Cassano came screaming up the pitch on the counter attack, and found Palacio in space on the right side of the box for the rat-tailed Argentine to stroke past Romero at the far post.
12 minutes later, Fredy Guarin gave the Nerazzurri a two goal cushion, receiving a ball across the box from Cassano, pushing forward, and finishing with power at the near post as Inter began to pull away from shell-shocked Sampdoria.
Tommaso Berni was dismissed for the visitors soon after, leaving the Blucherati decimated with 9 men for the final minutes.
Eder pulled a goal back for the visitors 30 seconds from full time, but it was too little, too late for the Genoese side, as Inter came back from a 1-0 first half deficit to take the three points.
Man of the Match: Fredy Guarin, Inter (1 goal; 92% passing; 100% aerials; 4 dribbles; 5 tackles)