Soccer – Inter beat Celtic in International Champions Cup fixture in Limerick

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Inter Milan got the better of Celtic at Thomond Park. Photo credit: Ryan Byrne/INPHO.
Inter Milan got the better of Celtic at Thomond Park. Photo credit: Ryan Byrne/INPHO.

Inter Milan 2-0 Celtic

INTER Milan emerged 2-0 winners from their International Champions Cup game against Celtic at Thomond Park on Saturday evening.

In front of a disappointing attendance of 12,873 at the home of Munster Rugby, the Serie A club got the better of the Scottish champions in a match that, for the most part, had a pre-season vibe about it.

A portion of Celtic fans in the North Terrace did their best to stoke up the atmosphere when letting off flares just before kick-off, although they would soon see their reserve goalkeeper Leonardo Fasan being called into action. In only the second minute of the game, he had to be at his best to tip over a shot from Ivan Perisic, who netted twice for Croatia at Euro 2016.

Celtic had their first opportunity of note after 15 minutes when right-back Saidy Janko neatly cut inside and had a go, only for his shot to curl wide of Samir Handanovic’s goal. Shortly afterwards, the lively Ryan Christie went on a surging run from halfway, but his eventual shot from 20 yards was rather tame and didn’t test the Inter goalkeeper.

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Frank de Boer’s side almost took the lead on 24 minutes as Andrea Ranocchia steered a header towards goal, Stefan Johansen showing the virtue of putting a man on the post when defending set pieces by heading the ball clear. Soon afterwards, Fasan pulled off an impressive save to deny Eder, the Italian version as opposed to the Portuguese striker who scored the winner in the Euro 2016 final. The goalkeeper was again called upon in the 36th minute when the industrious Geoffre Kondogbia cut inside before firing off a decent attempt at goal.

Liam Henderson passed up a good chance for Celtic on 43 minutes before Inter took the lead on the stroke of half-time. From Ever Banega’s corner, Perisic flicked on a header to Eder at the back post and he made no mistake from close range.

Celtic’s best chance of the game arrived in the 58th minute, Nadir Ciftci unlucky not to score with a cracking first-time volley that cannoned off the crossbar. A subdued second half momentarily came to life on 70 minutes when Mauro Icardi played a neat through ball to Inter substitute Antonio Candreva and he exquisitely lobbed the advancing Fasan to double the Italian side’s advantage.

Celtic rarely threatened thereafter, although Christie had a couple of openings late on. It was an indication as to the less than 100-mile-an-hour nature of this game that referee Paul McLoughlin blew for full time on exactly 90 minutes, despite several substitutions being made during the second half.

It was far from a classic at Thomond Park, and the attendance will not have impressed organisers, but that won’t bother de Boer as he prepares for the challenge of reviving the fortunes of Inter Milan after several lean years for a club who were champions of Europe as recently as 2010. Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic turn their attention to the crucial Champions League play-off against Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva over the coming fortnight.

 

Inter Milan: Handanovic; D’Ambrosio, Ranocchia, Miranda, Nagatomo (Caner 78); Medel (Jovetic h-t), Kondogbia; Eder (Melo 61), Banega (Candreva 61), Perisic (Biabiany 76); Icardi.

Celtic: Fasan; Janko, Boyata (Ambrose h-t), McCart, Izaguirre; Ajer, Henderson, Johansen; Christie, Ciftci (Aitchison 76), Armstrong.

Referee: Paul McLoughlin

Attendance: 12,873