Inter began their International Champions Cup tournament when they took on Paris St Germain today in Eugene, Oregon. The reigning French champions spent the majority of the 90 minutes taking the game to Inter, and the Milan-based side was never really able to get a foothold in the match.
For a lack of better options, Mancini once again started a midfield paring of Felipe Melo and Geoffrey Kondogbia. Those two do not allow for possession-based football so PSG easily assumed control of the ball and kept Inter pegged back, and though Inter gave up a few fouls and dangerous free kicks Handanovic didn't have to make a save until right before he conceded a goal. From one of those free kicks Hatem Ben Arfa took a shot in which Handanovic saved, but it was a weak parry that left the ball right in front of goal. PSG defender Serge Aurier was the first to the ball and was able to poke it home to give his side the lead in the 14th minute.
With Rodrigo Palacio having an anonymous half and no Mauro Icardi in the squad (officially due to a shoulder injury), Stevan Jovetic stepped up to try to make something happen in attack but was often frustrated by a lack of service. Melo was never going to provide him with the chances he needs, Kondogbia was subdued and when he did drive forward he would play a poor pass, and Yuto Nagatomo and Jonathan Biabiany were just as invisible as Palacio. Just as the first half was about to draw to a close Jovetic was handed the goal he deserved. A corner kick was not cleared by PSG and the ball ended up striking Lucas Moura's outstretched arm. Jovetic stepped up for the penalty and buried it into the top right corner to tie the game and hand Inter a frankly undeserved lifeline.
Mancini sent out the same side in the second half. Once again, PSG dominated possession and while they weren't forcing Handanovic to make saves, it only felt like a matter of time before the French side regained the lead. That ended up happening in the 61st minute when Layvin Kurzawa curled in a free kick that beat Handanovic at his near post. The Inter #1's game ended in the 70th minute when Roberto Mancini finally went to his bench to bring on Juan Pablo Carrizo, Davide Santon, and Axel Bakayoko. I found it strange that Mancini waited so late to make any substitutions, especially since this is a friendly and his next match is on Wednesday against Estudiantes. The new players really didn't make an impact on the match and Inter only had one attempt after PSG's second goal. The only other two events of note during the game was Kondogbia having to be withdrawn due to what seems to be an ankle injury and PSG's third goal and final goal. Alec Georgen sent in a cross following a corner and Aurier headed into the left corner to round out the match.
This was a dull and uninspiring performance by Inter. Quite simply the 442 with Biabiany, Kondogbia, Melo, and Nagatomo or Erkin does not work at all. While Jovetic had a pretty good performance Mauro Icardi was clearly missed and to make matters worse Roberto Mancini doesn't look like he cares anymore, now fresh rumors of him considering resignation do not seem far-fetched anymore. But most importantly, somebody needs to call up Appiano and put Marcelo Brozovic or Ever Banega on a plane to the United States because this team is painful to watch without a creative midfielder. The team takes on Estudiantes in New York on Wednesday and hopefully things will start looking up both on and off the pitch by then.