Inter Milan vs. Stjarnan: Winners and Losers from Europa League Qualifier
Inter Milan proved far too powerful for Icelandic club Stjarnan, winning the home leg of their Europa League qualifying tie 6-0 on Thursday night to complete a 9-0 rout on aggregate.
The tie was never really in doubt after the Urvalsdeild side lost their home match 3-0 last week, and a first-half brace from the magnificent Mateo Kovacic put Inter further ahead.
The Croatian starlet completed his hat-trick after the break, with Mauro Icardi scoring a double and Dani Osvaldo grabbing a goal as well.
Here are the winners and losers from the game.
It may be unfair to label the team "losers" when the two sides are so incomparable in terms of resources, but Stjarnan simply showed Icelandic football is a long way from being competitive at a European level.
There were moments over the tie, especially in the first leg, when Stjarnan performed admirably, displaying a well-organised defensive setup and some decent passing moves. However, in general, they were left in awe of their superior opponents.
Once the second strike had gone in, it was only a matter of how many goals Inter were going to put past their hapless opponents.
Winner: Mateo Kovacic
He hadn't scored for Inter since joining the club in January 2013, but Mateo Kovacic's drought came to a spectacular end on Thursday night.
The 20-year-old scored a brilliantly executed hat-trick, and the Stjarnan defence had no answers to his elusive runs.
Even taking the goals out of the equation, the Croatian had a superb game in the trequartista role, orchestrating Inter's attacks with accurate, telling passes and generally proving a menace to the opposition.
Walter Mazzarri may have found his chief playmaker for the upcoming Serie A season.
Winner: Mauro Icardi
This rising star continues to shine bright for Inter.
Mauro Icardi's superb brace, scored after he came on in the 53rd minute, will reinforce the notion that he is developing into a striker who could become one of the most dangerous in Italy.
The 21-year-old seems to get better with each game he plays, and if he can find consistency, this may be a real breakout season for him.
New Argentina coach Gerardo Martino will be keeping a close eye on his progress.
Winner: Yuto Nagatomo
There is some healthy competition going on for Inter's starting left-back spot, with Dodo and Yuto Nagatomo both showing excellent form in the early stages of the season.
The Japanese international was buzzing all night against Stjarnan. He patrolled the left flank with his usual energy and showed plenty of skill as well to regularly skip past defenders.
Sometimes his crosses are lacking in accuracy, but he sent in so many on Thursday that some were eventually bound to find their target, and he ended the night with two assists to his name.
Winner: Dani Osvaldo
He may have been somewhat outshone by Icardi, but Dani Osvaldo can be happy with his night's work as well.
He was a handy focal point for Inter's attacks throughout and picked up a headed goal.
If he can get back to anything like his Roma form, he will be a very useful addition to Inter's squad.