A Zlatan Ibrahimović-inspired FC Internazionale Milano proved too strong for PSV Eindhoven as the Italian champions claimed their first points in Group G thanks to two goals from the Swedish international.
Ibrahimović scored a 15th-minute penalty and a memorable header just after the half-hour. Then, following the dismissal of Cristian Chivu, the forward helped the Nerazzurri protect their advantage with a masterclass performance. It allowed Inter to forget the 1-0 loss at Fenerbahçe SK which had opened their UEFA Champions League campaign as they moved to within a point of the Turkish side.
At the outset the hosts looked slightly tentative, mindful perhaps of their recent European disappointments. Luís Figo, though, took quickly to his central role in place of Olivier Dacourt, who had been doubtful with a groin strain. However, the first two moves he instigated faltered at the feet of Santiago Solari due to overelaboration. PSV settled first, in fact, and after Jefferson Farfán had evaded two tackles, the forward played Kenneth Perez in down the right – the latter promptly warmed Júlio César's hands with a fierce strike on 12 minutes.
The visitors' confidence was soon to be dented, however, as within a minute Ibrahimović, with his back to goal, fell under Jan Kromkamp's challenge. Kyros Vassaras awarded a penalty and Ibrahimović took the spot-kick himself, sending Heurelho Gomes the wrong way for his tenth UEFA Champions League goal and his first in Inter colours. Buoyed by their advantage, Roberto Mancini's men regained the familiar swagger of their Serie A displays, Solari sending a teasing cross to the far post in the 25th minute which Hernán Crespo missed by a whisker.
The second goal was not long in coming, though, as Ibrahimović doubled his tally for the evening six minutes later. Figo, released down the right by Javier Zanetti, supplied a deep centre for Ibrahimović at the far post, and the No8 rose to send a looping header back across goal and over Gomes from the most improbable angle.
The Dutch champions' chief threat came from set-pieces and Eric Addo glanced Kromkamp's curling free-kick wide from five metres four minutes after the interval. Undeterred, PSV persisted and began to enjoy more possession. Farfán and Perez were passing the ball around well and Danko Lazović's one-two with substitute Danny Koevermans had to be thwarted by the alert César.
Although Inter were reduced to ten men when Chivu was shown a second yellow card for a lunge on Jason Culina, Ibrahimović used his new midfield berth to showcase his passing skills. He played a delightful disguised pass to Dejan Stanković, who skied his shot from ten metres. Substitute David Suazo also caused problems with his pace, bringing a fine save out of Gomes after speeding away from his markers and then rifling just wide of the near post after turning Carlos Salcido with ease. However, the Honduran's night ended in disappointment as he was sent off after the final whistle following a tangle with Salcido.