GLASGOW - This afternoon's match between Celtic and Inter finished all square: Kris Commons (41) put the hosts in front before Rodrigo Palacio (89) grabbed a late equaliser.
The friendly at Celtic Park - featuring two of the six teams in history to have done the Treble - was organised as part of the Bhoys' 125th anniversary celebrations.
In five days' time, on Thursday 2 August, Inter will play their first competitive game of the season when they take on Hajduk Split in Croatia for the first leg of the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League. Today Stramaccioni took the opportunity to check on how his squad are shaping up, making five changes to the side that started the friendly against Como last Tuesday. Handanovic was in goal, Zanetti came in at right-back, Chivu in central defence, Cambiasso sitting in a central midfield role in front of the defence and Milito as a lone striker.
For their part, Celtic are just one week away from starting their domestic league campaign – next Saturday, at home to Aberdeen – and are almost ready for their Champions League qualifier against HJK Helsinki on 1 August.
FIRST HALF - It was Celtic who were the more dangerous in the early stages, coming close to scoring after just 4 minutes: following a corner, a header from Mulgrew went just wide.
The match was halted on 10 minutes when, after a tackle by Samaras on Guarin, the Inter player fell awkwardly and needed medical attention on the side of the pitch. Fortunately Guaro was soon back up on his feet.
Celtic threatened again with a long-range effort from Commons, which Handanovic got down well to save on 12 minutes, and that was followed by a powerful effort on 18 minutes from Stokes – the Inter keeper alert to punch the ball out for a corner. From the resulting set-piece a header from Celtic captain Wanyama – the brother of Inter player Mariga – went just wide.
On 25 minutes, Ledley tried to break through the defence but Guarin stopped him with a sliding tackle. Celtic were faster to the ball and spending more time in Inter's half, and the Nerazzurri's first move of note came on the half hour: Milito put Sneijder through and the Dutchman stroked a first-time ball into the path of Coutinho, whose effort sailed over the crossbar.
There was an ugly clash on 34 minutes between Stokes and Cambiasso: Cuchu picked up a knock to his ankle, but it was the Celtic player who came off worse and had to be replaced by Bangura on 36 minutes.
The Celtic goal arrived in the 41st minute and it was a beauty – a move that had been carefully worked out on the training field. A Mulgrew free-kick from the left reached Commons, who hit a dipping left-foot volley past Handanovic. The sides went into the break with the hosts leading 1-0.
SECOND HALF - Stramaccioni replaced Jonathan with Nagatomo, who took over from Zanetti on the right of defence with the skipper pushing up into midfield. The versatile captain switched position again soon afterwards when Mudingayi came on (for Coutinho) along with Palacio (for Silvestre) on 51 minutes.
Inter put together a flowing one-touch passing move involving Sneijder, Milito and Palacio in the 62nd minute, with the latter back-heeling the ball to Sneijder: his effort was deflected out for a corner. Inter had another chance to score when Sneijder put in a low cross, but Mulgrew managed to get his foot to the ball before Milito could (67); from the resulting corner Chivu headed just over.
On 74 minutes Nagatomo hit a ball into the penalty area for Cambiasso, who protected the ball well; Irvine tussled with Cuchu and the Inter player fell to the ground claiming a penalty, but the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge.
Celtic got forward themselves on 78 minutes, when Commons had a good effort on goal from a wide angle; Handanovic managed to get a hand to the shot and push it out to safety.
Five minutes later, goal scorer Commons limped out of the game due to injury, leaving Celtic with 10 men as they had already used up all their permitted substitutes.
Milito had the chance to score in the 83rd minute: a long ball from Guarin found Livaja, Il Principe found space but wasn't quite able to turn the ball into the net.
Chivu then had a go with a long-range left-footed shot that forced a fine save out of Celtic keeper Forster, who put the ball out for a corner (86 minutes).
Inter's equaliser came in the 89th minute: Milito's effort was only parried by Forster and the ball fell to Livaja, who put a low cross into the penalty area for Palacio to score from just yards out.
The friendly match between Celtic and Inter, the Nerazzurri's last pre-season test, ended 1-1. Things start to get serious on Thursday.
Celtic 1-1 Inter (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Commons 41, Palacio 89.
Celtic: 1 Forster; 2 Matthews, 23 Lustig (Irvine 65), 21 Mulgrew, 3 Izaguirre; 15 Commons (left the pitch in 82nd minute), 67 Wanyama, 16 Ledley (F.Twardzik 65), 9 Samaras (McGeouch 74); 88 Hooper (McCourt 65), 10 Stokes (Bangura 36).
Unused sub: 24 Zaluska.
Coach: Neil Lennon.
Inter: 1 Handanovic; 4 Zanetti, 26 Chivu, 23 Ranocchia, 6 Silvestre (Mudingayi 51); 14 Guarin, 19 Cambiasso; 42 Jonathan (Nagatomo 46), 10 Sneijder (Livaja 76), 7 Coutinho (Palacio 51); 22 Milito.
Unused subs: 12 Castellazzi, 33 Mbaye, 44 Bianchetti, 24 Benassi, 61 Garritano.
Coach: Andrea Stramaccioni.
Referee: William Collum (assistants: Martin Cryans and Alan Mulvanny; 4th man: Stevie O'Reilly).
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