Sept 22 (Reuters) - Diego Milito scored twice after coming on as a second-half substitute in his first appearance after a seven-month injury layoff to help Inter Milan rout hapless Sassuolo 7-0 away in Serie A on Sunday.
Inter, still unbeaten under new coach Walter Mazzarri, were already leading the Serie A newcomers 4-0 when 34-year-old Milito came on for his first game since sustaining a knee ligament damage in a Europa League match against Cluj in February.
Milito needed only nine minutes to make his mark when he turned in a cross from fellow Argentine Ricky Alvarez in the 63rd minute.
His second goal 20 minutes later was equally straightforward as he tapped in Fredy Guarin’s cross from close range after Sassuolo, who have lost all four opening games in an unhappy top flight debut, were again caught on the counter-attack.
“The fans gave me the strength to come back from an injury like the one I had at the age of 34,” Milito told reporters.
“There are so many people I’d like to thank but I won’t start naming them one by one or we’ll be here all night. But they all know how grateful I’ll always be to them.”
Five of the Inter goals came from Argentines with Rodrigo Palacio, Alvarez and Esteban Cambiasso also on target.
Inter have 10 points from four games and their form this term is a far cry from lost season, when they limped to a ninth-place finish after suffering a record 16 league defeats.
“I didn’t expect Mazzarri to have quite this impact. He’s done brilliantly because he’s a hard worker and he’s instilled the same sense of joy and duty that he has in everyone else,” said club president Massimo Moratti.
“We’ve spent intelligently, bringing in lots of youngsters who have come in for criticism but are showing how talented they are.”
Palacio opened the flood gates in the seventh minute when he was left unmarked to tap in Yuto Nagatomo’s pass after seven minutes.
Algeria forward Saphir Taider put Inter further ahead when he snapped up a rebound in the 23rd minute after Palacio’s first effort was saved. It was the 21-year-old’s first goal since his move from Bologna in the close season.
Sassuolo’s nightmare continued when Raffaele Pucino, making his Serie A debut after replacing the injured Marcello Gazzola after 14 minutes, headed Guarin’s cross into his own net just after the half hour.
Alvarez added the fourth in the 53rd minute while Cambiasso scored the best goal of the game when he curled in a 20-metre effort, sandwiched between Milito’s goals.
Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by John Mehaffey