A stand-out performance from Samuel Eto'o inspired FC Internazionale Milano to a comprehensive UEFA Champions League Group A success against SV Werder Bremen.
The striker scored twice before the break and also set up Wesley Sneijder for Inter's third first-half goal. Eto'o rounded off the scoring nine minutes from time, sending the holders top of their section, level on points with Tottenham Hotspur FC.
The opening exchanges gave little indication of what was to follow as, with barely three minutes gone, Hugo Almeida caught the Nerazzurri napping, raced onto a through ball and lobbed Júlio César, who had advanced out of his area. Almeida's shot lacked the power to beat Lucio to the goal, but a minute later the Portugal forward gave Inter's No1 a sterner test with a venomous free-kick the goalkeeper turned wide.
Inter soon responded, UEFA Champions League debutant Jonathan Biabiany running onto Esteban Cambiasso's pass and crossing for Coutinho only for the teenager to direct his free header wide. Another slick move ensued, Coutinho cutting inside after receiving Sneijder's cross-field ball, exchanging possession with Eto'o and threading a clever pass to Sneijder, who was denied by Tim Wiese.
At the other end Almeida squandered a glorious chance after Tim Borowski swung over an inviting right-wing cross, but the momentum was with the hosts.
Within moments Inter were ahead, Cambiasso dispossessing Daniel Jensen and sending Eto'o through to slip the ball under Wiese. Eto'o was in irrepressible form and doubled his tally on 27 minutes when Lucio sent him clear. His control was sublime and his finish ruthless.
Dejan Stanković was the next player to force the besieged Wiese into action on the half-hour with a clever chip and, with Bremen rocking, the ubiquitous Eto'o's next act was to curl a pass into the path of Sneijder, who finished high into the far corner.
Die Grün-Weissen's best effort of the second period came on 52 minutes when Wesley's curler was well saved by Luca Castellazzi, on for Júlio César at half-time. The hosts were now comfortable, although their evening suffered a setback when Lucio was carried off with a seemingly serious knee injury.
But for another Wiese save Coutinho could have extended the lead after dancing into the area. Instead the glory was left to Eto'o, who completed his hat-trick by latching on to Sneijder's pass, rounding Wiese and sliding the ball into the empty net.