Friendly: Inter defeat Parma 2-0 in Lukaku’s absence
In the friendly against Parma, Lautaro Martinez, Nicolò Barella and Alessandro Bastoni enjoyed their first pre-season outing for the Nerazzurri, starting a match that ended with a 2-0 victory and left coach Simone Inzaghi with plenty of food for thought.
It was one-way traffic and Inter got the victory their quality performance deserved, thanks to second-half goals from Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino.
The team started in a 3-5-2 formation that saw Bastoni join team-mates Stefan De Vrij and Milan Skriniar to reform that title-winning back three. Ivan Perisic and Matteo Darmian played wide of a midfield trio of Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and Marcelo Brozovic.
Meanwhile, Martin Satriano partnered Lautaro Martinez in attack. Hakan Calhanoglu sat the match out as a precaution, having picked up a slight strain in the morning’s training session.
Inter were on it right from the start. On a beautiful summer’s evening in Parma, the Nerazzurri wore their new away kit for the first time. The Nerazzurri stretched across the Tardini pitch and enveloped the Parma defense, who struggled to deal with runs infield from Perisic, the most lively player in the first half.
Inter controlled proceedings, with Sensi and Perisic demonstrating a good understanding, and switched the play in a way that disoriented the home rear-guard. At the other end, meanwhile, the Nerazzurri defense barely gave their opponents a sniff.
Satriano and Lautaro made regular forward runs, battled with their backs to goal and made some good layoffs to their team-mates. Lautaro was one of several Inter players to see shots deflected out for a corner in the first period, as his effort was blocked with 38 minutes on the clock.
Skriniar also had a great chance for the Nerazzurri but his header was saved excellently by Simone Colombi. Parma’s only real joy in the first period came through Dennis Man breaking down the right, but the Nerazzurri’s consistency prevented any dangerous chances.
There was no change at the start of the second half, and no change in the direction of travel. Inter pushed hard and put Parma under constant pressure. The Nerazzurri had plenty of joy down the left and on 55 minutes it was almost the source of an opening goal, but Barella saw his effort canon off the post after a pinpoint cross from Perisic.
It was only a matter of time before Inter would break the deadlock. Just four minutes later Lautaro latched onto Satriano’s flick-on before seeing his shot blocked. The ball came back to the Argentinian, who found Brozovic in space inside the box, and the Croatian finished confidently first time to give Inter the lead.
Inter were ahead and had no intention of slowing down. Just 10 minutes after the opener, substitute Federico Dimarco’s cross from the left was headed in by Vecino, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes. Satriano subsequently forced Colombi into a save and Lautaro continued to threaten.
Going the other way, Franco Vazquez’s left-footed effort went just wide, almost pulling a goal back for Parma. Dimarco meanwhile made a crucial intervention in the final few minutes. Overall it was a positive friendly contest, with plenty of bright ideas and impressive bits of play, and an Inter side that is growing in desire.
Lukaku misses Inter friendly ahead of expected Chelsea move
Romelu Lukaku did not play in Inter Milan’s pre-season friendly at Parma on Sunday after widespread reports in Italy said the striker was set to rejoin Chelsea in a deal worth up to 115 million euros ($ 135 million).
Belgium forward Lukaku was not in the Inter squad for the match at the Stadio Ennio Tardini, which will kick off at 1700 GMT and is expected to feature protests from supporters against a likely sale that comes after a concerted pursuit from European champions Chelsea.
Inter are preparing to offload the 28-year-old for a fee which comes close to the record paid by a British club just days after Manchester City laid out £ 100 million (118 million euros) to sign England international Jack Grealish from Aston Villa.
Lukaku, who fired Inter to last year’s Serie A title – their first since 2010 – was initially keen to stay in Italy after becoming a huge fan favorite under previous coach Antonio Conte.
Last month he told official club channel Inter TV that he wanted to “achieve even more than last year” after scoring 24 league goals in the 2020/21 campaign and being voted player of the season.
However the Gazzetta Dello Sport reports that Lukaku changed his mind and now wants to return to Chelsea, where, after signing from Anderlecht in 2011, he failed to make an impression ahead of a star-studded roll call of forwards which included his idol Didier Drogba .
Italian broadcaster Sky Sport reported on Sunday that Inter have agreed personal terms with veteran Edin Dzeko to replace Lukaku, the Bosnia & Herzegovina striker having come close to leaving Roma for the Milan club in January.
– Inter’s difficult summer -The departure of Lukaku has angered Inter fans who are experiencing a difficult summer after watching their team romp to a 19th league crown.
Coach Conte walked away from Inter last month with a year still left on his contract following clashes with the club’s cash-strapped Chinese owners.
Conte, who was replaced with Simone Inzaghi, refused Suning’s planned cost-cutting which would have prevented him building the team he wanted to challenge at home and in Europe.
Inter have already sold marauding wing-back Achraf Hakimi, a key figure in the title win, to Paris Saint-Germain for a reported initial 60 million euros, after just one season in Italy.
There were even reports in England that Inter had agreed a fee in excess of £ 60 million to sell Lukaku’s striker partner Lautaro Martinez to Tottenham Hotspur, although they were quickly denied by both Inter and the player’s agent Alejandro Camano.
Argentina forward Martinez is in Inter’s starting line-up against Parma alongside Uruguayan rookie Martin Satriano.
Inter made losses of 100 million euros in the 2019/20 season mainly due to the coronavirus pandemic which has caused havoc to club finances across Europe.
According to finance company Deloitte, revenues in Serie A that season were down 18 percent, the biggest drop of Europe’s top five leagues.
The Suning Group, which owns Inter, shut down their Chinese club Jiangsu FC in February just months after it won the Chinese Super League title.
In May Suning obtained financing worth 275 million euros ($ 336 million) with US investment firm Oaktree Capital designed to get the club through its current financial strife.