Inter Milan held by Sampdoria to end flying start to Serie A title defence

Reigning champions drop first points of new season with Champions League clash with Real Madrid looming

Inter Milan manager Simone Inzaghi saw his team twice take the lead against Sampdoria but still had to settle for a draw. AFP
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Inter Milan were held to a 2-2 draw at Sampdoria on Sunday as the reigning Serie A champions dropped their first points of the new campaign.

Federico Dimarco and Lautaro Martinez twice put Simone Inzaghi's side ahead at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris but strikes from Maya Yoshida and Tommaso Augello earned a deserved draw for Sampdoria.

Inter had looked in fine form during their opening two games under new manager Inzaghi when they thrashed Genoa 4-0 and defeated Verona 3-1 but their opening goal against Sampdoria came against the run of play.

The hosts, also under new management in Roberto D’Aversa, had a good early chance when Norwegian midfielder Morten Thorsby headed over from six yards.

But it was Inter who went ahead when defender Dimarco blasted a free kick into the top corner after 18 minutes, the 23-year-old’s first goal for his boyhood club.

Sampdoria equalised in the 32nd minute when a headed clearance from a corner fell to Yoshida, whose shot was deflected into the net.

Inter retook the lead with a well-executed counter-attack led by Nicolo Barella, who raced into the opposition half, rode a challenge, and picked out Martinez who finished with a cushioned volley.

Italy midfielder Barella became the first Inter player to provide assists in each of his first three matches of the Serie A season since Opta started collecting data in 2004-05.

But the champions again surrendered their advantage two minutes into the second half, when Augello was left unmarked to fire a volley into the top corner to leave Inzaghi frustrated on his 200th Serie A game as a coach.

“It's a game we should have and could have won,” Inzaghi told DAZN. “We have to look at what happened, because when a team like ours goes ahead twice we really should win.”

Next up for Inter is their opening game of the Champions League group stage when they take on Real Madrid at the San Siro on Wednesday evening. Their other opponents in Group D are Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk and Romanian minnows Sheriff Tiraspol.

Updated: September 12, 2021, 1:34 PM