Inter played hosts to Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia at their training camp in Brunico.
It was quickly apparent that this game wold see more action than the previous 0-0 draw against WSG Wattens. The two sides exchanged chances before the away team took the lead in the 10th minute when Nunes shot from a wide angle and the ball slid in just inside the far post. It didn’t take long for Inter to draw level though. Dodo send in a low cross and when a Sofia defender missed the clearance, Palacio was on hand to pick up the ball and slot it home. Handanovic was saved by the post in the 24th minute when Malamov’s curling effort came close to giving the away side the lead again.
In the 30th minute Inter was given a golden opportunity to take the lead. Palacio played in Pinamonti and the striker was taken down in the box for a penalty. The 17 year old stepped up to take the penalty himself but his effort was well saved by Kitanov. The rest of the first half saw both sides try to take the lead but the half ended with the score at 1-1.
Roberto Mancini sent out an entirely different side for the second half with the only regulars from last season being Icardi, Jovetic, Nagatomo, and Santon and this showed. A lot of the young players seemed unsure of themselves and CSKA Sofia quickly tried to capitalize. Yordanov had a couple of early chances and in the 55th minute was played through on goal with Yao keeping him onside and Yordanov was able to beat Carrizo. The rest of the match saw Inter trying to grab an equalizer but failing to break down the Sofia defense, while the away side was more than happy to sit back and look for chances on the counterattack.
Overall I was pleased with a couple of performances today. Caner Erkin impressed in the 32 minutes that he played, he linked up well with his teammates and showed encouraging signs at right-back. Rodrigo Palacio had a decent first half and did a good job to remind Mancini that he will still be an option up top in the coming season. Though Andrea Pinamonti missed the penalty he showed a confidence well beyond his age and I expect to see more of him the rest of this summer.
Am I disapointed that Inter lost today? Yes. Am I worried that Inter lost today? No. This was a pretty meaningless friendly, one that Mancini had previously said that he didn’t want his players to exert themselves too hard and risk getting injured. I have never read too much into friendly scorelines, most of the time neither team really cares, there’s a bunch of youngsters playing, and the coach is really just assessing fitness and experimenting with formations. A loss is never fun but this doesn’t spell gloom and doom just like how if the team goes on to blowout PSG and Bayern in the USA matches doesn’t mean that Inter is suddenly a world-class team again. I’m not going to stress out about scorelines until they start to matter.