Philippe Mexes hit a goal worthy of settling any Derby della Madonnina as his acrobatic volley secured Milan a 1-0 win over city rivals Inter in Shenzhen.
The French defender connected with Giacomo Bonaventura’s corner just after the hour and fizzed a wondrous 25-yard strike past helpless Inter goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo.
In truth, it was a moment of quality the game perhaps did not deserve, though Milan – who had Antonio Nocerino sent off late in the game – were always most likely to score as Inter struggled in possession on a bobbly Shenzhen Stadium pitch.
Milan were also able to give debuts to strike pair Luiz Adriano and Carlos Bacca, suggesting they are well-placed to make more of an impression under Sinisa Mihajlovic this term.
Roberto Mancini’s Inter looked off the pace, however, and with any new signings reportedly waiting on the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri to be moved on, they face a race against time to be in shape for the start of the Serie A season in a month’s time.
The first half gave little clue of what was to follow as both sides blundered in their attempts to break into the final third.
Carrizo smothered M’Baye Niang from close range in the 13th minute, while Alessandro Matri’s cut-back after springing the offside trap sold the Frenchman desperately short.
Mihajlovic made eight changes at the break, including the introduction of Mexes, while Niang and Matri were replaced by new recruits Luiz Adriano and Bacca on the hour.
The Colombian made a swift impact, tearing down the right and setting up Luca Antonelli, whose shot was deflected away for a corner on the left wing.
What followed was a goal worthy of the greatest stage.
Bonaventura caught out Inter’s defence by swinging his delivery to the far corner of the penalty area towards Mexes, who leapt into a scissor-kick volley and launched his strike across Carrizo and into the top corner.
Despite having Argentina strikers Mauro Icardi and Rodrigo Palacio up top, Inter’s woes in attack went on until the end and they failed to take advantage in the closing stages after Nocerino saw red for chopping down Geoffrey Kondogbia.
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