PARMA - Inter put in a sharp, shift, aggressive and solid performance against a side who have already begun competitive football this term (Athletic are involved in the Europa League preliminary qualifying rounds).
There was excitement surrounding Jovetic and Jo-Jo lived up to his pre-match billing. He came to the fore on 7 minutes with a shot having exchanged passes with Medel. Ten minutes later he had the chance to make it 1-0. Guarin delivered a pinpoint cross, Jovetic met it with his head and Iraizoz produced a wonder save. But there was more to come, as Icardi struck the post from the rebound. Inter were solid though Athletic went close to Handanovic's goal but Guillermo's header failed to trouble the Nerazzurri backline.
The goal came on 27 minutes, as Gnoukouri pushed on down the left and fired in a low cross. The Montenegrin burst onto the scene and found the back of the net with his left. Inter continued to exert more pressure. Ten minutes before the interval, Brozovic won the ball back well and played in Jovetic whose curling shot just missed the target. Athletic failed to produce anything of note and Guarin shot over.
The tempo dropped a touch in the second half, and understandably so. The rhythm was broken up by a series of substitutions and Athletic tried to bounce back but Undabarrena shot over. On the hour mark, Brozovic ran into the heart of the box, met Juan Jesus' cross but failed to find the target.
Fifteen minutes later, the Nerazzurri's sustained pressure nearly resulted in another goal. Montoya and Nagatomo both got forward down the right and Manaj had the pick of the chances albeit without any joy. Inter had a double chance moments later, first through Gnoukouri from range, then with Ranocchia's header from a corner but Iraizoz got everything behind it.
Athletic had a chance on the counter on 83 minutes but the ball missed Carrizo's goal. A minute later, Icardi sealed the win. The Argentine met Nagatomo's wonderful cross perfectly with his head. That made it 2-0 and that's the way the scoreline would remain.
Inter 2-0 Athletic (HT: 1-0)
Scorers: Jovetic 27, Icardi 84.
Inter: 1 Handanovic (Carrizo 68); 21 Santon (Ranocchia 46), 25 Miranda (Montoya 61), 24 Murillo (Manaj 68), 5 Juan Jesus; 27 Gnoukouri, 17 Medel
(Dimarco 61), 77 Brozovic; 13 Guarin (Palacio 46); 35
Jovetic (Nagatomo 61), 9 Icardi.
Subs not used: 46 Berni.
Coach: Roberto Mancini.
Athletic: 1 Iraizoz, 2
Bóveda, 3 Aurtenetxe, 5 Etxeita (Iriondo 46), 4 Gurpegui, 6
Elustondo (Sabin 56), 8 Undabarrena (Viguera 56), 11 Ibai
(Laporte 56), 10 Unai López (Ruiz de Galarreta 78), 7
Lekue, 9 Guillermo (Eraso 56).
Subs not used: 13 Herrerín, 16 Gil, 20 Vesga, 23 Aketxe.
Coach: Ernesto Valverde.
Added time: 0+3 minutes.