REGGIO EMILIA - It was a frustrating first game of the season for Luciano Spalletti’s side on Sunday, as they lost 1-0 to Sassuolo at the Mapei Stadium. A 27th-minute penalty from Domenico Berardi was what ultimately proved decisive, as the Nerazzurri crucially failed to get on the scoresheet.
The hosts were bright right from the off, with Bourabia forcing Handanovic into action as early as the fourth minute. Inter duly struggled to find space and only managed to break into the opposition half in the 14th minute, with Icardi firing a right-footed shot safely into the hands of Consigli. Having been played in well by Asamoah, the captain then tried his luck once again seven minutes later, but his shot was saved by the Neroverdi shot-stopper. The deadlock was then broken in the 25th minute, as Di Francesco earned his side a penalty after Miranda made contact in the box. Berardi stepped up to take it and fired the ball past Handanovic. The Nerazzurri responded, once again through Icardi, but his long-range effort failed to find the target. The final chance of the first half fell to De Zerbi’s side, although Berardi’s effort didn’t trouble Handanovic.
Following the break, Spalletti brought Ivan Perisic on for Dalbert, with the Croatian almost instantly firing over with a snapshot volley. Inter unsurprisingly looked to step up the pressure. In the 57th minute, Brozovic fired from the edge of the box but it went wide. It was the same for Politano three minutes later when he missed the target with his left. Sassuolo were soon on the front foot again in the 65th minute and they looked very dangerous as Boateng hit the post with an effort from Lirola’s teasing cross. From the following move, Perisic perfectly picked out Icardi but the Argentine just lacked the coordination to finish inside the six-yard box. With time running out, Spalletti brought Keita on for Lautaro. The Nerazzurri pressed but without really creating any clear chances. In the 84th minute, Icardi laid it off for the oncoming Politano but he didn’t have enough space to get his left-foot strike away cleanly. Karamoh also came on for Brozovic for the final siege on goal. In the 90th minute, De Vrij got his head to Politano’s cross but Consigli saved. The late assault in the five minutes of stoppage time was in vain and Sassuolo ultimately won 1-0.
On Sunday 26th August, we’ll have to bounce back straight away against Torino in front of the home crowd at San Siro. #ForzaInter!
SASSUOLO 1-0 INTER
Goalscorer: 27' pen. Berardi (S)
SASSUOLO: 47 Consigli; 21 Lirola, 31 Ferrari, 23 Magnani, 6 Rogerio; 68 Bourabia (64' 12 Sensi), 4 Magnanelli, 32 Duncan; 25 Berardi, 27 Boateng (85' 30 Babacar), 34 Di Francesco (74' 20 Boga)
Substitutes: 79 Pegolo, 28 Satalino, 98 Adjapong, 39 Dell'Orco, 17 Sernicola, 73 Locatelli, 9 Djuricic, 10 Matri, 19 Odgaard
Coach: Roberto De Zerbi
INTER: 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio, 6 De Vrij, 23 Miranda, 29 Dalbert (46' 44 Perisic); 8 Vecino, 77 Brozovic (86' 7 Karamoh); 16 Politano, 10 Lautaro (69' 11 Keita Balde), 18 Asamoah; 9 Icardi
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 2 Vrsaljko, 5 Gagliardini, 13 Ranocchia, 20 B. Valero, 37 Skriniar, 87 Candreva
Coach: Luciano Spalletti
Bookings: Duncan (S), Rogerio (S), Miranda (I), Vecino (I), Sensi (S)
Added time: 0' + 5'
Assistants: Carbone, Ranghetti
Fourth official: Di Paolo
VAR operators: Valeri, Del Giovane