EUGENE – Roberto Mancini's Inter have been defeated 3-1 by French champions PSG in their opening game of the International Champions Cup 2016 at Autzen Stadium in Eugene.
Goals from Serge Aurier and a Stevan Jovetic penalty ensured the score was level after an evenly fought first half. PSG had the better of the second half and a fine free-kick from Layvin Kurzawa plus a header from Aurier gave Unai Emery's team the win.
It was Jovetic who had the first chance of the match, slaloming his way through the Parisian defence only to be hauled down on the edge of the area. The Montenegrin stood up to take the free-kick but his strike couldn't beat the wall.
PSG responded swiftly and within a quarter of an hour they were in the lead. Hatim Ben Arfa struck a direct free-kick on goal and Samir Handanovic got down low to parry but could only direct the ball back into play, where Aurier proved sharper than the rest and swept home an easy finish.
The heat was having a levelling effect and neither side could generate any kind of tempo to their play. Jonathan Biabiany tried his luck with a barrelling run up the middle and was brought down unfairly. Andrea Ranocchia nominated himself for free-kick duty this time and while his shot was powerful enough, it lacked the necessary direction to trouble Alphonse Areola in goal.
Jovetic was looking lively and had two chances after a refreshment break on the half-hour mark, his second had the PSG keeper beaten but Thiago Silva was there to clear up on the line. Inter's No.10 got his rewards on the stroke of half-time: a foul in the area after a corner prompted the referee to point to the spot, Jovetic sent Areola the wrong way from the penalty and the teams went in level at the break.
Neither side made any changes at half-time and the second half began with both teams set up well and denying each other any chances. PSG got themselves back into the lead in the 61st minute when Kurzawa squeezed a free-kick inside Handanovic's right post.
Mancini decided to make three changes 20 minutes from the end, sending on Juan Pablo Carrizo, Davide Santon and Axel Mohamed Bakayoko.
Edinson Cavani had a superb chance to make it 3-1 in the 75th minute, working himself into a one-on-one situation but pushing his shot narrowly wide. A few minutes later, Geoffrey Kondogbia was on the receiving end of a heavy challenge in the area but the man with the whistle was unmoved. The Frenchman was forced to depart shortly afterwards and was replaced by Loris Zonta.
Inter tried to find the equaliser from two set pieces but neither could trouble the opposition's goal. In the 88th minute, PSG got the third and decisive goal when Aurier got ahead of everybody else and nodded home a cross from the right.
Inter therefore lose their first game at the International Champions Cup but will be back in action on Wednesday to face Estudiantes in Harrison, New Jersey.
INTER 1-3 PSG (HT: 1-1)
Scorers: Aurier 15 and 87, Jovetic pen 45+2, Kurzawa 61.
INTER: 1 Handanovic (30 Carrizo, 71); 33 D'Ambrosio, 25 Miranda, 13 Ranocchia, 18 Erkin (21 Santon, 71); 11 Biabiany, 5 Melo, 7 Kondogbia (91 Zonta, 82), 55 Nagatomo (93 Bakayoko, 71); 8 Palacio, 10 Jovetic.
Subs: 46 Berni, 12 Bessa, 92 Di Gregorio, 95 Miangue, 96 Della Giovanna, 99 Pinamonti.
Coach: Roberto Mancini.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: 16 Areola, 2 Thiago Silva, 3 Kimpembe, 4 Stambouli, 7 Lucas, 17 Maxwell, 19 Aurier, 21 Ben Arfa, 25 Rabiot, 36 Ikone, 41 Callegari.
Subs: 1 Trapp, 9 Cavani, 10 Pastore, 11 Di Maria, 12 Meunier, 20 Kurzawa, 22 Edouard, 24 Nkunku, 34 Georgen.
Coach: Unai Emery.
Booked: Kimpembe 26.
Injury time: 3+3 minutes.
Referee: Jair Marrufo.
Assistants: Corey Rockwell and Jeremy Hanson.
Fourth official: Chipalo Street.