CHANGZHOU – Inter kicked off their summer tour of China and Singapore with a 1-1 draw against Schalke 04 in the Dragon City Cup on Friday.
The Nerazzurri fell behind on the hour mark when Daniel Caligiuri cut inside and blasted an unstoppable finish past Samir Handanovic, but after a raft of substitutions it was an unlikely hero who levelled matters as Jeison Murillo curled a fabulous finish into the top corner from outside the box in the 73rd minute.
Playing the first of four friendlies in Asia at Changzhou's Olympic Sports Center New City Stadium, Inter fashioned the first chance of the game on 17 minutes: Marcelo Brozovic swung in a corner and Geoffrey Kondogbia rose to meet it at the far post but nodded wide.
Five minutes later Yevhen Konoplyanka jinked his way down to the byline only to hit his shot into the side netting.
Ivan Perisic then linked up well with Eder and fired wide from the edge of the box before Eder put in a decent ball for Brozovic, whose effort was deflected over for a corner.
In the 39th minute the Croatian returned the favour for his team-mate, the Italy striker's shot came off a defender and fell to Antonio Candreva but Alexander Nubel thwarted him from close range.
Luciano Spalletti brought on Joao Mario, Borja Valero, Gabigol and Stevan Jovetic for the start of the second half and the Montenegrin had a great chance to open the scoring in the 56th minute when he got on the end of Joao Mario's pass. Nubel, however, produced another fine save.
Brozovic then went close with a free kick before Schalke broke the deadlock with their first chance of the half following a fine move by Caligiuri.
Murillo entered the fray in the 69th minute and took just four minutes to make an impact as he collected Joao Mario's pass on the right wing, sidestepped a challenge and guided a gorgeous finish into the top corner.
Inter pushed on and carved out a string of chances as they sought a winner. Nubel showed sharp reflexes to palm Pablo Insua's near own goal round the post, Murillo almost notched a second when he headed wide from a corner and Andrea Pinamonti was denied a goal in injury time when Naldo made a last-ditch block after the Italian had rounded the keeper from Gabigol's pass.
It finished all square in Changzhou and Spalletti's men can now look forward to their second friendly against Lyon in Nanjing on Monday.
Inter 1-1 Schalke (HT 0-0)
Scorers: Caligiuri 60, Murillo 73.
Inter: 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio (24 Murillo 69), 37 Skriniar (31 Valietti 79), 25 Miranda (13 Ranocchia 69), 55 Nagatomo; 5 Gagliardini (99 Pinamonti 69), 7 Kondogbia (20 Borja Valero 46); 87 Candreva (10 Joao Mario 46), 77 Brozovic (Biabiany 69), 44 Perisic (96 Gabigol 46); 23 Eder (Jovetic 46).
Subs not used: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 61 Vanheusden, 63 Rivas.
Coach: Luciano Spalletti.
Schalke 04: 35 Nubel, 2 Mc Kennie (16 Reese 46), 10 Bentaleb, 11 Konoplyanka (3 Insua 80), 17 Stambouli, 18 Caligiuri (30 Wright 64, 33 Avdlijaj 82), 19 Burgstaller (21 Hemmerich 46), 24 Oczipka (6 Geis 46), 25 Harit (32 Tekpetey 46), 29 Naldo, 31 Nastasic (23 Cole 80).
Subs not used: 34 Wieszolek, 40 Sam, 22 Uchida.
Coach: Domenico Tedesco.
Referee: Gu Chunhan.
Assistants: Wang Dexin, Sun Kaio.
Fourth official: Huang Yi.
Added time: 2 + 4 minutes.