Inter made a poor start to life under Frank de Boer as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Chievo in their Serie A opener.
Inter made a poor start to life under Frank de Boer as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Chievo in their Serie A opener courtesy of Valter Birsa's second-half double.
The former Ajax boss, appointed following Roberto Mancini's departure earlier this month, only took charge of one friendly, and his side looked like one who had endured a chaotic pre-season with a sub-standard performance.
Birsa's cool strike opened the scoring - the first goal Inter have conceded on the opening weekend of a league campaign since Luis Muriel netted for Lecce in 2011 - and the same man added a second from distance with nine minutes remaining.
The Milan club started last season winning five straight matches by a one-goal margin, including this fixture, but struggled to find consistency thereon in and missed out on a Champions League place.
And, despite De Boer's arrival, a star-studded lineup could not break down Chievo's resolute defence on another agonising evening for Inter.
Mauro Icardi had been the match-winner for Mancini in both clashes against this opposition last term, but he was starved of service in a rugged encounter.
It took less than five minutes for the game's first flashpoint as Andrea Ranocchia's loose control led him to crashing into a challenge on Riccardo Meggiorini in the area. Chievo players surrounded referee Massimiliano Irrati while their team-mate writhed on the ground, but no penalty award was forthcoming.
That set the tone for a feisty opening period, with Eder eventually inspiring some goal-mouth action when Stefano Sorrentino saved his powerful low shot.
The goalkeeper struggled to clear the subsequent corner, but both Danilo D'Ambrosio and Ranocchia had rebounding efforts blocked.
Despite the array of creative talent on display, though, including Inter debutants Antonio Candreva and Ever Banega, both sides struggled to forge opportunities in a drab first half.
The hosts had their first sight of goal shortly before the break, but Meggiorini dragged wide of the near post after running clear from Lucas Castro's throughball.
However, within four minutes of the restart, Chievo did get the first goal. A neat passing move set Fabrizio Cacciatore away to tee up Birsa, who beat D'Ambrosio and Rannochia before firing in a low finish.
Inter struggled to muster a response, with Miranda nodding a corner over the bar from their only notable chance, and the home side instead doubled their advantage to seal victory.
Birsa again grasped an opportunity to shoot, smashing a low effort from 20 yards into the bottom corner that left Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot and De Boer beaten in his first game.
Key Opta Stats:
- Inter have lost their last four away league games.
- Chievo scored against Inter after going four league games without goals against them.
- Chievo failed to fire a shot on target in the first half for the eighth time in 2016 - more than any other Serie A team.
- Valter Birsa has scored only three right-footed goals in Serie A, two tonight (nine left-footed).
- Birsa scored his first double in Serie A.