Lukaku scores on debut for Inter Milan
Belgian forward Romelu Lukaku scored on his Inter Milan debut as new coach Antonio Conte’s reign got off to a perfect start with a 4-0 win over promoted Lecce on Monday.
“There was a spark, but now we must become dynamite,” said Conte as he begins his campaign to topple eight-time holders Juventus.
Lukaku — a 65 million euros ($73 million) summer signing from Manchester United — scored the third goal on the hour mark at the San Siro.
A blunder by Lecce goalkeeper Gabriel parried the ball into the path of Lautaro Martinez allowing Lukaku to finish off.
The 26-year-old turned and took a bow in front of the jubilant Inter fans among the 65,000 crowd.
“Lukaku entered the world of Inter in the best way, with great humility,” said Conte.
“He’s a gentle giant, a giant with a smile. He is ready to work for the team. But not only Romelu, Lautaro also played very well.”
Croatian Marcelo Brozovic had opened the scoring after 21 minutes with a powerful strike for his 15th goal in his sixth season with Inter.
But another new signing Stefano Sensi, a summer loan from Sassuolo, also found a way through three minutes later.
Lecce played the last quarter of an hour a man down after Brazilian Diego Farias saw red in his first game for a studs on tackle on his former Cagliari teammate Nicolo Barella.
Antonio Candreva blasted in the fourth goal on 84 minutes, allowing Inter to match champions Juventus and runners-up Napoli who both won their opening league matches at the weekend.
Juventus beat Parma 1-0, with Napoli edging a seven-goal thriller at Fiorentina 4-3.
“We started off well with the right intensity and desire, respecting the idea of what I wanted,” said Conte.
“Then at 2-0 I didn’t like what I saw from the lads. Too relaxed, losing intensity under pressure.
“We need to improve both mentally and physically but I am very happy and satisfied, I like working with these guys who have always shown great commitment.
“Let’s celebrate until midnight, from tomorrow we think of Cagliari, it will be a difficult trip,” he added of next weekend’s game in Sardinia.