Mauro Icardi, Dodo and Danilo D’Ambrosio gave Inter a 3-0 away win at Stjarnan in the Europa League play-off.
The Nerazzurri went into this first leg against Icelandic club Stjarnan, the lowest ranked side still in the competition. Rodrigo Palacio was ruled out by injury, so Ruben Botta supported Icardi and Dodo shook off flu symptoms to start.
Despite it kicking off at 21.00 local time, there was bright daylight in Rekjavik and a temperature of around 7C.
Within two minutes Icardi’s header from a corner had skimmed the crossbar. Hernanes blasted over from distance and a Botta drive was easily smothered.
Andrea Ranocchia thought he had scored on 24 minutes with a towering header from a Jonathan corner, but it was cleared off the line by Olafur Karl Finsen.
Dodo drilled over from an improbable angle, Mateo Kovacic over-hit an otherwise inspired pass for Jonathan and Botta flashed a shot across the face of goal after handling the ball.
Kovacic threaded through for Jonathan again, but this time the Brazilian was inches away from making a clean connection.
Inter finally broke the deadlock before half-time. A Dodo cross was flicked on by Martin Rauschenberg, but only into the path of Icardi to pounce from 10 yards.
The Nerazzurri doubled their lead straight after the restart. Jonathan stood up a cross for Dodo’s header at the back post and the attempted goalline clearance was too late to stop it going in.
Moments later Icardi nodded off target, then hit a fresh-air shot on a smart Hernanes free kick. Stjarnan finally had a chance on the hour mark with Bjorgvinsson blasting over after a Dodo error.
Daniel Osvaldo came on and his first touch let him down on a Ranocchia assist, while Nemanja Vidic got himself booked.
Stjarnan threw on two strikers and it almost paid off, Juan Jesus with a desperate slide to stop Rolf Toft tapping in a cross from the left. Samir Handanovic was also called into a fine low save to palm away Olafur Karl Finsen’s daisy-cutter.
Osvaldo had a fantastic chance to get Inter’s third in the final minutes, but his wonderful curling shot was fingertipped on to the crossbar.
The goal arrived moments later, as substitute Zdravko Kuzmanovic with practically his first touch pulled back for a Danilo D’Ambrosio rocket into the roof of the net with a deflection off Johansson.
The second leg is next Thursday at San Siro.
Stjarnan 0-3 Inter
Scorers: Icardi 40 (I), Dodo 48 (I), D’Ambrosio 89 (I)
Stjarnan: Jónsson; Vemmelund, Rauschenberg, D Laxdal, Arnason; Runarsson (Toft 69), A Johansson; Bjorgvinsson, Punyed, Finsen; Gunnarsson (G Johansson 69)
Inter: Handanovic; Ranocchia, Vidic, Juan Jesus; Jonathan (D’Ambrosio 75), Kovacic, M’Vila, Hernanes (Kuzmanovic 88), Dodo; Botta (Osvaldo 60); Icardi
Ref: Strahonja (CRO)
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