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Mourinho´s Inter reign begins with stalemate

SoccerNews in Serie A 30 Aug 2008

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Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was left frustrated in his first Serie A match in charge of Inter Milan as the champions were held to a 1-1 draw at Sampdoria.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave the visitors a first half lead but Samp fought back after the break to earn a point through Gennaro Delvecchio.

Mourinho will not have been happy that his team surrendered a lead but the differing aspirations of the two sides were apparent after the final whistle as Inter trudged off the pitch while Sampdoria celebrated as if they had won silverware.

Mourinho sprung a surprise by picking Argentina midfielder Esteban Cambiasso at centre-back while he opted for his favoured three-pronged attack, with Swede Ibrahimovic flanked by Brazilian Alessandro Mancini and Portuguese veteran Luis Figo.

Samp's Italy wild boy Antonio Cassano had the first effort on goal on six minutes but he failed to hit the target.

Inter gradually took control of the match and opened the scoring in controversial fashion on 33 minutes.

Ibrahimovic ran onto a flick from Mancini and took the ball down on his chest before scuffing a left-footed shot in off the post but television replays showed that he controlled the ball with his arm as well as his chest.

Despite the first half lead, Mourinho did not look impressed and often cut an impassive figure on the touchline.

However he was soon irked after the break following some sustained Sampdoria pressure as the home side equalised.

Substitute Marco Padalino crossed from the right for Daniele Franceschini who failed to make proper contact with a stooped header under pressure from Maicon but the ball fell kindly to Delvecchio who prodded home on 68 minutes.

Moments later and Cassano should have done better when sent free by a long ball but with a free run on goal he got the ball stuck between his feet, allowing Marco Materazzi to get back and clear.

In the day's other game an Antonio Di Natale inspired Udinese got off to a fine start with a 3-1 victory over Palermo.

The Italy forward was in scintillating form and the Sicilians found him unstoppable in the first period.

He opened the scoring on nine minutes after cutting in from the left and shooting past goalkeeper Marco Amelia.

His second effort on 34 minutes was sublime as the nippy winger scored with a sumptuous chip over Amelia.

Australian midfielder Mark Bresciano briefly gave Palermo hope of salvaging something from the match when he bundled the ball home with 20 minutes left but Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler restored the two-goal advantage a minute later.

It was the perfect start for Udinese, who challenged for a top four finish last season and are considered dark horses for the title this year.

On Sunday Ronaldinho should make his debut for AC Milan as they host Bologna while the match of the day will be in Florence where Juventus are the visitors to Fiorentina.

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