SOCHAUX - Inter's Uefa Cup adventure began with a 2-2 draw away to a vivacious Sochaux side in Thursday's third round first leg.
After a bright start from the French and some flashes of brilliance from Andy van der Meyde, Christian Vieri nodded home his fourteenth goal of the season from the Dutchman's left-wing corner kick in the 8th minute.
Inter remained compact and dealt with Sochaux's creative wing play as Guy Lacombe's men enjoyed pockets of possession. Francesco Toldo was largely untroubled by long-range shots but showed all his agility with a terrific save from Zairi's ferocious, angled shot from the left on 13 minutes.
The Nerazzurri dominated the opening stages of the second half, then Sochaux equalised in the 59th minute when Frau controlled a left-wing cross, turned Adani then shot past Toldo. Inter's reaction was instant. Alvaro Recoba received from C.Zanetti, shrugged off a challenge from Daf then rammed a left-foot shot into the far corner.
But Sochaux didn't give up and got their reward with less than ten minutes remaining. Toldo fumbled a long-range shot, then Frau pounced and hit the post before slotting the rebound into an open net.
SOCHAUX 2-2 INTER (ht: 0-1)
Scorers: Vieri 8', Frau 59', 82', Recoba 61'
SOCHAUX: 1 Gnanhouan, 4 Flachez, 5 Monsoreau, 10 Oruma, 12 Isabey, 13 Frau, 17 Pedretti, 21 Diawara, 25 Mathieu, 27 Daf, 29 Zairi (8 Boudarene 77')
Subs not used: 16 Richert, 2 Tall, 3 Paisley, 14 Lonfat, 19 Raschke, 20 Diarra
Coach: Guy Lacombe
INTER: 1 Toldo, 2 Cordoba, 4 J. Zanetti, 6 C. Zanetti, 7 Van der Meyde (22 Okan 58'), 8 Lamouchi, 13 Helveg, 15 Adani, 20 Recoba (9 Cruz 90'+1'), 26 Pasquale, 32 Vieri
Subs not used: 12 Fontana, 18 Kily Gonzalez, 19 Karagounis, 29 Biava, 34 Nossa
Coach: Alberto Zaccheroni
Referee: Medina Cantalejo
Booked: J.Zanetti 35', C.Zanetti 43' (misses return leg), Oruma 53', Helveg 87', Adani 88'