Stjarnan vs. Inter Milan: Winners and Losers from Europa League Qualifier
There were more winners than losers in Inter Milan's 3-0 victory over Stjarnan in the Europa League on Wednesday night, as the Italians got the result they wanted while the Urvalsdeild side did their reputation no harm by putting in a strong performance.
The Icelandic outfit held strong until the 41st minute before Mauro Icardi broke through with the opening goal. Dodo added a second just after the break as the Italians went into cruise control, and then substitute Danilo D'Ambrosio sealed the result late in the game.
Here we go through the good and the bad from this rumble in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Winner: Mauro Icardi
Even though he barely saw the ball for most of the first half, Mauro Icardi did just what top strikers are supposed to when he was handed a chance just before the break.
He may have had a right to be rusty due to lack of activity, but the Argentine forward controlled the ball cleanly after a defensive error and finished with aplomb.
The promising 21-year-old is shaping up to be one of Inter's key players in 2014-15.
Winners: Inter's Wing Backs
Both Inter's starting wing-backs were excellent throughout this Europe League match, providing forward thrust down the edges while their teammates toiled at times through the middle.
Left-back Dodo's pre-season form for his new club was patchy at times, but he really hit his straps in this encounter, setting up the first goal for Icardi before scoring the second, which in turn was set up by right-back Jonathan.
Even when Jonathan was subbed off in the second half, his replacement D'Ambrosio managed to keep standards high, and even scored a cracking goal just before full time.
The Brazilian midfielder was livelier when the game opened up in the second term, but for much of the first half Hernanes did not do enough to open up the Stjarnan defence.
In Walter Mazzarri's 3-5-2 system, much depends on the two advanced central midfielders to create chances for the forwards, and while Mateo Kovacic constantly probed with vertical passes, Hernanes did not look like providing the spark that Inter needed.
With other creative players such as Ricky Alvarez waiting in the wings, the Brazilian will have to do better if he is to command a first-team place once the Serie A season gets underway.
Winner: Runar Sigmundsson
Stjarnan were not expected to give their Italian opponents too much trouble in this encounter, but in the end they were by no means overwhelmed in Reykjavic.
Coach Runar Sigmundsson had his team playing in a compact 4-4-1-1 formation that Inter had some difficulty in breaking down in the first half.
Though the Nerazzurri dominated the match, they deserved no more than their three-goal victory, as the Icelandic side proved to be a well-organised and disciplined unit.
Loser: Martin Rauschenberg
It may have been only the slightest of errors in an otherwise solid display, but Martin Rauschenberg's failed attempt at clearing Dodo's cross led directly to Inter's first goal.
The defender attempted to clear the ball with his head but only succeeded in flicking it onto the feet of Icardi, who made no mistake from close range.
Until that point, Stjarnan had held Inter at bay with some authority. Had it not been for Rauschenberg's slip up, they would have had a chance of fighting for a goalless draw.
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