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August 20, 2014
• Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavík
Referee: M. Strahonja
• Attendance: 9829
M. Icardi 41'
D. D'Ambrosio 89'
Well, that's about it from me, folks. Thanks very much for your company this evening. Good luck.
The neutrals will be disappointed that Stjarnan failed to get on the scoresheet but, truth be told, they never looked like scoring, with Handanovic having had very little to do. Inter took a while to get the measure of their Icelandic opponents but once they did, they looked capable of scoring every time they went forward. The Nerazzurri looked a little tired in the closing stages but Mazzarri will be very satisfied with a job well done.
90' + 3'
And there is the full-time whistle!
90' + 2'
A late chance for Stjarnan to snatch a goal as Handanovic fumbles the ball in the area ... But no, the referee has ruled that Johannsson impeded the goalkeeper as he jumped for the ball, so it wouldn't have counted anyway. Looks like the hosts' evening is going to end without a goal.
GOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL! Inter finally make it 3-0, with Kuzmanovic making an immediate impact by laying the ball off to fellow sub D'Ambrosio, who smashes the ball past Jonsson from the ege of the box. A terrific strike from the wing-back.
Mazzarri makes his final change of the evening, sending Kuzmanovic on in place of Hernanes.
SO CLOSE FOR INTER! Osvaldo picks up possession on the edge of the area, works the ball onto his right foot and then unleashes a sublime curling effort which comes back off the bar. So unlucky for the striker.
Credit to Stjarnan, they're not going down without a fight, earning themselves a corner. Unfortunately, the delivery is dire. They've really not made the most of the few set-pieces they've earned tonight.
The game's really come back to life, with Stjarnan enjoying their most sustained period of pressure in the game, during which Handanovic gets down well to his right to keep out a decent low strike from Finsen. Could well be another goal in this one - but at which end?! ...
Space starting to open up for Iceland and this time Osvaldo looks poised to latch onto a long ball in behind the Stjarnan defence. However, Jonsson comes storming out of his goal and does just enough to get the ball away from the Inter forward.
Inter have a chance to break and Osvaldo immediately plays the ball wide to Icardi. The young No.9 tries to cut inside, though, running into too many bodies and the move collapses.
Instant chance for D'Ambrosio to make an impact, with the ball bouncing up for him at a corner, but his header is well wide. That really would have killed this tie stone dead, not that there's much life left in it as it is.
Another change for Inter, with D'Ambrosio coming on for Jonathan, who has had a fine game down the right flank. A well-earned rest for the Brazilian.
That was really just further evidence of the way in which Inter have dropped off since the hour mark. They don't luck fully fit, which is hardly a major surprise given Serie A doesn't start for another week and a half.
Stjarnan open Inter up for the first time, with a lovely one-two down the left-hand side, but Juan Jesus brilliantly cuts out the subsquent cross. Excellent reading of the game from the Brazilian centre-half.
Thorri Geir Rúnarsson
Veigar Páll Gunnarsson
Double substitution for the hosts, with Johannsson coming on for Gunnarrson and Toft replacing Runarsson.
Inter's intensity has definitely dropped in the last 10 minutes but they are still threatening out wide, with Jonathan whipping over a dangerous cross from the right that Jonsson does well to pluck out of the air before it can reach the head of Osvaldo.
Yellow CardNemanja Vidic
First booking of the evening and it's for Vidic, who was guilty of pulling down Johansson. The Serb is furious and it's hard not to have some sympathy for him as it looked like he'd been barged off the ball illegally beforehand. The ref's having none of it, though.
Early chance for Osvaldo, with Ranocchia stepping forward to play a lovely ball in behind the Stjarnan defence for the on-loan Southampton man. However, the Italy international fails to control the ball.
Pablo Daniel Osvaldo
Inter make their first change of the evening, with Botta making way for Osvaldo. So, it'll be two up top for Inter now. That could spell even more trouble for the hosts.
Inter pounce on a loose ball in midfield and break quickly but Hernanes is unable to find Icari with a clever backheel and Stjarnan clear.
Jonathan slips the ball inside to Hernanes, who quickly shifts the ball onto his left foot and letting rip. However, his effort is high, wide and ugly.
Botta is released down the left wing but his attempted cross to the back post for Icardi is cut out. The latter then loses the battle for the second ball and the danger is cleared.
Some neat play on the left wing from Inter before Juan Jesus chips the ball infield for Hernanes, who tries his luck with a spectacular volley. It's easily dealt with, though, by Jonsson.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR ICARDI! Inter win a free kick in the middle of the Stjarnan half and Hernanes deftly lobs it into the area for Icardi. It's asking to be hit but the No.9 completely misfires and the ball bounces harmlessly into the arms of Jonsson.
Almost a third goal for Inter but Icardi's header from the penalty spot drifts just wide of the right post. Mazzarri's men playing with a real swagger now.
GOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLL! Dodo makes it 2-0. Well, I said it, didn't I? Inter's two best attacking players have been their full-backs and they've just combined to double the visitors' advantage, with Jonathan crossing for Dodo to head home at the back post.
Inter get us back under way, with Dodo already back on the offensive, winning a free kick wide on the left.
Right, the players are back out on the field for the second half, with the hosts having it all to do. Can they turn things around - and treat us all to a goal celebration to remember? Let's find out ...
And that's the last action of a first half dominated by Inter. For all their possession, they initially struggled to create openings for the first 30 minutes but their wing-backs were a constant threat and it was Dodo who created the opener for Icardi. One would have to expect Inter to go on to win this one quite comfortably but we shall see. Join us for the second half in roughly 10 minutes.
Rare foray forward for Stjarnan, with Finsen holding the ball up well before laying it off for Johansson. However, the less said about the latter's subsequent strike on goal the better. It was a horrible hooked effort and it's no surprise that he pulls his jersey over his head in shame afterwards.
Stjarnan had been defending well but there's no denying that Inter deserve their lead. It really had been coming. Twas a fine finish from Icardi, too, with the Argentine attacker killing the ball well before coolly slotting home. Had talked him up earlier and he's justified the hype. Sign of things to come from him this term? ...
GOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLL! ICARDI MAKES THE BREAKTHROUGH. Kovacic slips the ball infield to the fantastically attack-minded Dodo and the Brazilian's lofted ball into the area arrives at the feet of Icardi, who makes no mistake from eight yards out.
MAJOR LET-OFF FOR STJARNAN! Kovacic shows off his fancy footwork in midfield before dissecting the home side's defence with a wonderfully measured pass but Jonathan inexplicably fails to control the pass. Huge opportunited missed as the Brazilian could have either shot himself or squared to the supporting Icardi.
CHANCE FOR INTER! Juan Jesus steps out of defence, drifting towards the left-hand side before launching a fine ball into the area for Botta. The Argentine controls the ball before spinning his marker and then unleashing a left-footed shot on the turn - but the ball flies wide. Wouldn't have counted anyway, as the replays showed that the winger attacker controlled the ball with his hand. Great spot!
Inter's best attacking outlets are definitely their wing-backs and Jonathan very nearly got in behind the Stjarnan defence a moment ago but Kovacic was unable to pick out the Brazilian's well-timed run.
Dodo once again underlines his willingness to get forward by instigating a give-and-go with Hernanes but the Brazilian's attempted return pass is overhit and the ball runs out over the end-line.
Dodo drives forward down the left flank before unleashing a left-footed strike that flies over the bar. Wild strike in the end, but he's looked a threat thus far.
SO CLOSE FOR INTER! Jonathan whips over a corner that he earned himself and Ranocchia once again leaps like a salmon to meet it only to see his goal-bound effort cleared off the line. Ranocchia leading by example thus far and Inter edging ever closer to an opener.
Another strike on goal for Inter, this time from Kovacic, but it's another desperately weak effort. Still, Inter at least starting to have a few sights of goal now.
Botta finds himself in some space on the edge of the area and decides to have a go. But his daisy-cutter was never troubling Jonsson in the Stjarnan goal.
Jonathan earns Inter another corner with his attempt to find Icardi in the area but the subsequent set-piece is easily dealt with this time.
Hernanes with a long-range strike for Inter, but it's a pretty poor strike from the Brazil international. Pretty much summed up the Nerazzurri's efforts thus far. Looking a little short of ideas in attack.
First shot on goal for the hosts, as Punyed lets fly from distance - but the American's ambitious effort is easily dealt with by Handanovic.
Stjarnan looking to hit Inter on the break whenever they can but their passing has been terribly wayward thus far.
Inter enjoying plenty of space early on, as expected, but Stjarnan are looking nice and compact at the back. Indeed, Icardi looks a little isolated, as he did during a lot of the Nerazzurri's pre-season games.
INTER GO CLOSE! Dodo whips over the corner and Ranocchia rises highest to meet it. His header is good but it goes just over the bar. Early let-off for the home side.
Botta's started promisingly enough, drifting out to the left wing to earn his side the first corner of the game.
Stjarnan with the kick-off and we're under way in Iceland!
From an Inter perspective, there are competitive debuts for Vidic, M'Vila and Dodo. Elsewhere, Ranocchia will serve as skipper, while Icardi will lead the line. No room for Guarin or Osvaldo, both of whom start on the bench.
Stjarnan (4-2-3-1): Jonsson; Vemmelund, D. Laxdal, Rauschenberg, Arnason; A. Johannsson, Runarsson; Bjorgvinsson, Punyed, Finsen, Gunnarsson.
Inter (3-5-1-1): Handanovic; Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Jonathan, Hernanes, M'Vila, Kovacic, Dodo; Botta; Icardi.
Well, we're just about to get under way, so let's take a quick check on the teams ...
Still, Inter should have too much firepower for their Icelandic opponents, particularly as Mauro Icardi has been in such good form in pre-season. The enigmatic forward was, of course, linked with the likes of Atletico Madrid and Liverpool during the summer but he has remained at San Siro and big things are expected of him this season.
Inter, of course, are always a major draw but it's fair to say that a lot of neutrals will be keeping a close eye on this one because of the hosts. Stjarnan are the side that became Youtube sensations three years ago following the release of a video that showcased their most bizarre but brilliant goal celebrations. The players have already hinted that they have something special planned for what is the biggest tie in the club's history, so I think almost everyone watching this one will be hoping that the hosts net.
Good evening! Welcome to Goal's coverage of Inter's trip to Iceland to face part-time outfit Stjarnan.
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