Inter played out a dull 0-0 draw with Austrian second-tier side Wattens on Saturday as Roberto Mancini’s men began their preparations for the new campaign in earnest.
The Nerazzurri finished fourth in Serie A last season, and will look to go at least one better in 2016-17 and secure a return to Champions League football.
The picturesque surroundings of this meeting at Bruneck’s Sportpark Reischach were somewhat more appealing than the fare on offer on the field, with Wattens – who won their league by 18 points last season – enjoying the better chances.
Inter ought to have been behind inside eight minutes when Lukas Katnik skewed wastefully wide from a glorious opening.
Mancini’s side grew into the contest after that scare, Stevan Jovetic seeing his effort blocked by Wattens goalkeeper Ferdinand Oswald, with Jonathan Biabiany volleying wide on the stretch shortly afterwards.
Inter continued to create openings and Mauro Icardi’s mis-kick fell kindly for Geoffrey Kondogbia, who stabbed over, but they were fortunate to go into the break level when Milan Jurdik shot straight at Samir Handanovic on the stroke of half-time.
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During the extended interval, players posed for selfies with fans and signed autographs, while Icardi told Sky Sport: “We’ve worked so hard these days. It is normal to not be at 100 per cent, but these matches are useful.”
Mancini changed his entire XI for the second half, which did little to aid Inter’s fluency, and again they were lucky not go behind when substitute Samuel Krismer chipped over the bar following a defensive mix-up.
Andrea Ranocchia brought a fine save out of Wattens’ replacement keeper Emanuel Ponholzer with less than 15 minutes to go, but that was as good as it got as Mancini’s men took the first tentative steps into a fresh campaign.