Rome: Andrea Stramaccioni opened his Inter Milan account with a thrilling and vital 5-4 win over Genoa at San Siro on Sunday to keep alive the nerazzurri's European qualification hopes.
With Roma romping to a 5-2 win over Novara earlier in the day, Inter needed a victory to keep in the hunt for a Europa League spot.
They now trail Roma, in sixth - the final European qualification berth - by three points with eight games left.
At 36, Stramaccioni may be the youngest coach in Inter's history but he turned to experience for his first game in charge, restoring the likes of Esteban Cambiasso and Cristian Chivu to the starting line-up.
And the old guard rewarded him as Diego Milito hit a hat-trick against his former employers, while Walter Samuel and Mauro Zarate added the other two.
Alberto Gilardino scored a brace from the spot for the visitors, with Emiliano Moretti and Rodrigo Palacio - also with a penalty - adding the others.
It was a crazy game that had four penalties and two red cards, with Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar and Genoa's Fernando Belluschi both dismissed.
Having failed to score in seven of their last 10 league games, of which they only won one, under Claudio Ranieri, Inter were greatly helped by the league's worst defence.
Diego Forlan found space on the left to cross for Milito to head home unmarked from the middle of the box.
Milito refused to celebrate the goal against his former club and he was soon trying to control his emotions again as Dejan Stankovic's ball over the top of a woeful offside trap released him to smash the ball past Sebastien Frey.
Such was the new-found swagger with which Inter were going about their work that centre-backs Lucio and Samuel combined for the third goal, the former crossing for the latter to prod home from inside the six-yard box.
Genoa snatched what appeared a consolation in first-half stoppage time in fortuitous fashion as Giuseppe Sculli's overhead kick hit Moretti's thigh and wrong-footed Julio Cesar.
However, Palacio reduced the deficit further from the spot after Javier Zanetti was adjudged to have handled.
Zarate restored the two-goal advantage with a curling effort from the left edge of the box but Julio Cesar was then dismissed for bringing down Palacio.
Gilardino took and scored this penalty, only for Belluschi to be dimissed at the other end for fouling Fredy Guarin.
Milito completed his hat-trick from the spot but Lucio brought down Sculli and Gilardino added his second in the last minute.
Roma's easy victory kept alive their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.
They trail city rivals Lazio, who lost 3-1 at Parma on Saturday, by just four points in the race for third place and the final berth in Europe's premier club competition.
Novara took the lead early on through Andrea Caracciolo but after that there was only ever going to be one winner.
Brazilian Marquinho and Pablo Osvaldo hit back before half-time, while another Brazilian, Fabio Simplicio, and Bojan Krkic struck in the second period.
Japan forward Takayuki Morimoto scored a late consolation for the struggling visitors, who remain second-bottom and nine points from safety, before Erik Lamela put the icing on the cake deep into injury time.
Roma stayed sixth, with Napoli and Udinese between them and Lazio.
Thanks to Catania's 1-1 draw with AC Milan on Saturday, they also increased the cushion separating them from seventh place.