Out-of-Season Inter Milan Strolls Past Liga Selection
A selection of the Indonesian Premier League’s best players received a lesson in footballing class on Thursday.
Even without its best internationals, Italian giant Inter Milan easily beat the Liga Selection — a hodgepodge of the IPL’s best local and imported players — 3-0 at Gelora Bung Karno in Jakarta.
Inter, which only arrived in Indonesia on Wednesday, started slowly but played with ruthless efficiency in front of its opponent’s goal. Samuele Longo gave the 18-time Serie A champion the lead after 35 minutes, while Giampaolo Pazzini and Luca Tremolada both scored in the second half.
The Liga Selection controlled the match early, and Semen Padang striker Edward Wilson notched the first shot on goal. The Liberian striker beat Inter goalkeeper Raffaele di Gennaro with his 12th-minute shot, but the ball caromed off the crossbar.
After that, coach Andrea Stramaccioni’s side began to dictate the match. A defensive mistake helped prize open the home side as captain Otavio Dutra lost control of the ball, which Longo chased down and pushed past goalkeeper Aji Saka before scoring into an empty net.
Pazzini doubled the lead five minutes after halftime and Tremolada added the third in the 70th minute.
“I liked how the Indonesians played in the first half. They played fast and gave us a hard time,” Stramaccioni said through a translator. “Indonesian players have good skills, so it was a good game.”
Inter will play the Indonesian national team at Gelora Bung Karno on Saturday.
“The starting eleven for the next game will depend on the players’ performance during training. However, I want to test every player,” Stramaccioni said.
Despite the match organizer’s claim that “tens of thousands” tickets had been sold, the 88,000-seat Gelora Bung Karno was more than half empty. Most of the fans in attendance were wearing Inter jerseys and cheering for the Nerazzurri.
Inter defender Ivan Cordoba, who recently announced his retirement after playing with Inter since 1999, said he was pleased with the support.
“I love Indonesian fans and I’ll try to repay their enduring support,” the 35-year-old Colombian said.
Inter will host a coaching clinic for select players from the TopSkor Under-13 League and those willing to pay the Rp 3 million ($320) entrance fee today at Gelora Bung Karno.