Inter Milan held to draw at Sampdoria

August 31st, 2008 - 2:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Milan, Aug 31 (DPA) Holders Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw against gritty hosts Sampdoria in their first Serie A football league match of the season.At the brimming Galileo Ferraris, Inter star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic seemed to be over his lingering knee troubles, and in the 33rd minute resumed his scoring habit he interrupted in last season’s closing game, when he scored a crucial brace.

The Swede displayed his incredible controlling skills Saturday when he finalised a one-two action with Brazilian Mancini and fired diagonally by the far post.

Sampdoria’s second-half equaliser brought the signature of Gennaro Delvecchio, a midfielder turned striker for lack of first-team strikers.

Sampdoria had several chances through their talented play maker Antonio Cassano, who fired high drives in the sixth and 25th minute, while midfielder Paolo Sammarco had his effort blocked by Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

The Genoa hosts produced good offensive schemes, mostly relying on feeds from Cassano, but glaringly lacked the grit to finalize due to absences of his strikers Claudio Bellucci and Emiliano Bonazzoli.

Sulley Muntari, Inter new arrival from Ghana, opened the second half with a drive saved by Antonio Mirante, who also blocked a Dejan Stankovic shot and on 57 minutes watched an Ibra volley fly high.

The hosts’ deserved equalizer on 68 minutes owed much to a precise cross from Swiss substitute Marco Padalino, who favoured the easy tap-in from Delvecchio after an imperfect clearance from Douglas Maicon.

Three minutes later, Cassano had a mouthwatering chance to reverse the score, but incredibly fumbled a long pass and failed to come face to face with Julio Cesar.

Further thrills for the Genoa fans came on 86 minutes from Angelo Palombo’s smashing free kick that Julio Cesar deflected with difficulty, while Chilean substitute Luis Jimenez threatened for Inter heading a cross from Ibra above the bar.

An earlier game between Udinese and guests Palermo saw the Udine hosts prevail 3-1 thanks to a brace from international Antonio Di Natale.

Two top-billing ties, Roma-Napoli and Fiorentina-Juventus, are set, respectively, for Sunday afternoon and evening.

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