Frank de Boer secured a first competitive victory as Inter boss at the third time of asking, with captain Mauro Icardi firing a late brace in a 2-1 win over Pescara in Serie A.
The Dutchman lost his opening game in charge to Chievo before fighting back to earn a point against Palermo, and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck’s fine volley threatened to hand Inter another setback on Sunday.
But Icardi headed an equaliser to save De Boer’s blushes and then ended the side’s run of four away league defeats with victory as the striker grabbed his second in stoppage time.
Pescara have enjoyed an action-packed return to Serie A, drawing with Napoli and then being awarded a win at Sassuolo as their hosts fielded an ineligible player.
But this was a dreary affair by comparison, although the hosts had enough opportunities to win it and struck the crossbar through Valerio Verre.
Inter had to wait until the 12th minute for their first opening, when Icardi got on the end of Ivan Perisic’s centre to prod straight at Albano Bizzarri.
That chance represented the height of the visitors’ ambitions in the first 30 minutes, though, and Pescara twice could have led due to defensive errors.
However, Miranda raced back to recover the ball when Ahmad Benali ran clear, before Bryan Cristante somehow volleyed wide when picked out at the back post by Verre.
That scare belatedly stirred Inter into action and Bizzarri had to be down smartly to repel Ever Banega’s low thump and the subsequent rebound from Antonio Candreva.
The hosts then created an even better opportunity. A wonderful piece of skill from Gianluca Caprari saw him tear away down the right and seemingly tee up the opener for Verre, only for the 22-year-old to smash against the crossbar.
Icardi nodded wide either side of half-time, while Samir Handanovic made stops from Verre and Ledian Memushaj.
With the game now wide open, debutant Joao Mario dummied for Banega to shoot, with Bizzarri blocking, and Danilo D’Ambrosio galloped forward to lash a strike over the bar.
But the breakthrough came at the other end after 63 minutes.
Pescara attacked in numbers, with Francesco Zampano delaying long enough for Bahebeck to ghost into the box on the far side. He was brilliantly found and applied a smart finish back across Handanovic on the volley.
Verre and Bahebeck both failed to double their side’s advantage as Handanovic saved, and were made to pay as Icardi changed the complexion of the game.
Having repeatedly directed headers high and wide, he rose magnificently onto Banega’s cross to nod into the corner 13 minutes from time.
And, in the 91st minute, Icardi added a second, battling through Pescara’s backline and appearing to touch the ball with his forearm before rifling into the corner to end De Boer’s poor start.
Key Opta stats:
– Inter have won their last seven league games against Pescara.
– Icardi has netted six Serie A goals in matches versus Pescara.
– Inter failed to score a first-half goal in the first three matchdays of 2016-17.
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