LUGANO – Simone Inzaghi's Inter kicked off the 2021/22 pre-season with a win over Lugano on penalties to claim the Lugano Region Cup.
Lugano raced into a two-goal lead before Danilo D'Ambrosio and Martin Satriano levelled the scores, then Ionut Radu saved two penalties and Andrea Ranocchia fired home the winning spot-kick to seal victory for Inter.
The Nerazzurri took on Lugano – who have become regular pre-season opponents in recent years (last year the match was played on 15 September after the Europa League final, just before the Serie A kick-off) – wearing their new home kit with the Scudetto shield on their chests.
Meanwhile the fans at the Stadio Cornaredo could be heard singing 'champions of Italy' from the stands at regular intervals.
Inzaghi set Inter up in a 3-5-2 formation with Federico Dimarco alongside Ranocchia and D'Ambrosio in the back three protecting Samir Handanovic's goal. Lucien Agoume slotted into the holding role, with Roberto Gagliardini and Radja Nainggolan ahead of him. Matteo Darmian and Dalbert meanwhile patrolled the flanks, with Andrea Pinamonti and Satriano up front.
The home side, who were playing their final pre-season encounter before their Swiss Super League opener against Zurich next week, started brightly enough but the first real chance fell to Pinamonti. The striker did brilliantly to bring down Ranocchia's ball over the top, only to be denied by the keeper.
Satriano struck the outside of the post from a wide angle soon after, yet it was Lugano who then scored – twice. First Lovric volleyed in the loose ball after Handanovic had saved Lavanchy's effort, then Facchinetti finished low into the corner after a half-cleared corner.
Inter quickly got their act together and within minutes D'Ambrosio had halved the deficit when he headed in Dimarco's corner. The full-back almost scored a carbon copy moments later but was denied by Sabbatini's goal-line clearance.
After the break Satriano stepped up and scored the equaliser with a fine finish after being picked out by Agoume.
That jolted Lugano into life and Aboubakar was denied a near-certain goal by a fabulous reaction stop from substitute Radu.
Inzaghi shook up the side bringing on the likes of Skriniar, Nunziatini, Zanotti, Colidio and Carboni, and the Slovakian defender thought he had netted the winner in stoppage time before it was disallowed for offside.
The final whistle went and so to penalties, where Radu's saves from Guidotti and Covilo handed Ranocchia the chance to win it for the Nerazzurri. The defender kept his cool allowing Inter to leave with the Lugano Region Cup.
Lugano 2-2 Inter (HT 2-1)
Scorers: Lovric 30 (L), Facchinetti 35 (L), D'Ambrosio 38 (I), Satriano 54 (I).
Inter win 4-3 on penalties
Penalties: Maric (L): scores; Dimarco (I) scores; Demba Ba (L) scores; Pinamonti (I) scores; Lovric (L) scores; Colidio (I) scores; Guidotti (L) saved; Gagliardini (I) saved; Covilo (L) saved; Ranocchia (I) scores.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic (97 Radu, 61); 33 D'Ambrosio (46 Zanotti, 78), 13 Ranocchia, 32 Dimarco; 36 Darmian (47 Carboni, 89), 5 Gagliardini, 18 Agoume, 44 Nainggolan (41 Nunziatini, 81), 29 Dalbert (37 Skriniar, 61); 48 Satriano (48 Colidio, 78), 99 Pinamonti.
Subs not used: 21 Cordaz, 40 Fabbian, 42 Moretti, 43 Hoti, 45 Sottini.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
LUGANO (3-5-1-1): 46 Baumann; 4 Hajrizi, 30 Daprelà (23 Srdic, 89), 3 Ziegler (5 Maric, 78); 16 Lavanchy, 20 Custodio (22 Guidotti, 73), 14 Sabbatini (6 Covilo, 73), 24 Lovric, 7 Facchinetti (11 Monzialo, 78); 10 Bottani (19 Ba, 78); 99 N. Muci (17 Abubakar-Ankrah, 46).
Subs not used: 8 Lungoyi, 12 Morosoli.
Coach: Abel Braga.
Referee: Luca Piccolo.
Assistants: Sladan Josipovic and Devis Dettamanti.
Added time: 1+3 minutes.
Booked: Hajrizi (L).