Inter's expensively assembled squad were dealt a heavy dose of reality in a 1-0 defeat at Sassuolo in their Serie A season opener on Sunday.
Plenty is expected of Luciano Spalletti's side following an influx of fresh faces but they appeared disjointed against a team that finished seven places below them last season.
Punishment came in the shape of Domenico Berardi's 27th-minute penalty and it was all a counter-attacking Sassuolo needed to notch a seventh victory in 11 league meetings between the pair.
The Nerazzurri's highly anticipated attacking partnership of Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez failed to threaten, with the injured Radja Nainggolan sure to be rushed back as soon as possible to shore up an unsteady midfield.
Spalletti's decision to name four new signings in his starting XI came at the cost of early organisation with only Samir Handanovic's outstretched left boot preventing Mehdi Bourabia from netting a third-minute opener.
The hosts did not have to wait long for a deserved lead, though, as Berardi converted from the spot in the 27th minute, Miranda having clumsily bundled over Federico Di Francesco.
Ivan Perisic stepped off the bench at the break but it was Matteo Politano who looked the most likely to conjure an equaliser against his former side, the winger flashing a fierce drive across the face on the hour.
Clearer chances soon came at both ends with Kevin Prince-Boateng brushing the outside of the near post with a clever first-time effort, before Icardi side-footed a low Perisic cross over the bar.
Stefan de Vrij threatened to snatch a point in stoppage time, but his header from Politano's delivery was impressively parried by Andrea Consigli as Sassuolo clung on.
What does it mean: Too soon for title talk
The early evidence suggests a developing Inter are, understandably, some way short of the finished article. Napoli were excellent last season and still finished four points shy of champions Juventus, who have only strengthened further over the off-season. Inter, with a 23-point gap to bridge, cannot yet be considered genuine Scudetto contenders.
Pat on the back: Duncan the driving force
Compact and disciplined from front to back, Sassuolo were richly deserving of three points. Their tireless efforts to squeeze the space in midfield were led ably by Alfred Duncan, who made numerous interceptions and provided necessary energy going forward.
Boot up the backside: Brozovic in the bad books
Spalletti undoubtedly wanted a Croatian in his midfield come the start of the season, but Marcelo Brozovic was perhaps not the player he had in mind. The 25-year-old was too often ponderous in possession, with his turnovers in the early exchanges regularly exposing Inter's high line.
Key Opta Facts
7 - Sassuolo have won more matches versus Inter in Serie A than against any other side – winning 7 of the 11 fixtures. Torment. #SassuoloInter— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) August 19, 2018
- Since 2015 Inter have lost the most Serie A games against Sassuolo (seven) - at least three more than against any other side in the period.
- Inter have lost on the opening weekend in two of the last three Serie A campaigns, the same as in their previous 23.
- Domenico Berardi has scored four goals in his last six Serie A games played against Inter.
- Sassuolo have lost only one of their six opening games in a Serie A season - three wins and two draws in their last five.
Inter head back to Milan for a meeting with Torino next Sunday, while Sassuolo visit Cagliari.
18 de enero 2019
|Solskjaer´s United turnaround no easy task, says Hughton|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|How James Harden´s 2018-19 numbers compare to his MVP campaign|
|It´s insane! - Tsitsipas excited to face ´legend´ Federer|
|Sharapova ends Wozniacki title defence|
|American teen Anisimova sends records tumbling at Aus Open|
|Lakers survive Ball´s gaffe to beat Thunder in OT|
|Federer expects ´athletic´ and ´attacking´ Tsitsipas clash|
|Alcacer is fit and available – Favre|
|Fantastic Federer breezes past Fritz|
|Pogba happy with Man United approach under Solskjaer|
|Mickelson leads Desert Classic, ties career-low with 12-under 60|
|Warriors´ Durant on Curry: He´s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent|
|Patriots owner says Brady is greatest player, not just quarterback, of all time|
|Inglis to retire from representative duty this year, NRL in 2020|
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Valverde not worried about Levante´s Copa appeal|
|Nowell an option for England at flanker, reveals Jones|
|Pellegrini: Arnautovic available for the right price|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
17 de enero 2019
|Canelo and Jacobs agree unification fight|
|Barcelona 3 Levante 0 (4-2 agg): Dembele at the double as Barca advance|
|Levante to lodge complaint over Barcelona Copa selection|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Everton do not have financial conditions to enter transfer market - Silva|
|Andy Cole joins Sol Campbell´s coaching staff at Macclesfield|
|Atletico confirm Saul has thigh injury|
|Wood replaces injured Stone in England squad|
|Lebanon 4 North Korea 1: Disciplinary record cruelly denies Radulovic´s men|
|Saudi Arabia 0 Qatar 2: In-form Ali bags brace as Qatar top group|
|Robertson signs new Liverpool deal|
|Vunipola backs Farrell to thrive in solo leadership role|
|People don´t know what´s going on behind the scenes - Mourinho defends United stint|
|Indefatigable Muguruza knocks out Konta at 3:12am|
|Serena coasts, difficulties for Halep and Muguruza´s marathon|
|Lowry retains Abu Dhabi lead|
|Djokovic battles past Tsonga, young guns flourish|
|Louisville airport to be renamed in Muhammad Ali´s honour|
|Emery not thinking about Ozil speculation|
|Sri Lanka hopeful over Kusal Mendis finger injury|
|Oman 3 Turkmenistan 1: Last-gasp Al-Musallami guarantees progression|
|Emery wants Cech to end career ´in a good moment´|
|Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot|
|Calhanoglu deal ´financially impossible´ for Leipzig|
|Not seen at Aus Open since Nadal, Djokovic and Murray in 2009 – ´Next Gen´ make move|
|Martial: Solskjaer lets me express myself|
|Djokovic sees off Tsonga to reach third round|
|Returning Cousins calls Warriors ´the most hated team in sports´|
|Halep injury ´nothing dangerous´|
|Warner picks up elbow injury in Bangladesh|
|Mkhitaryan returning to Arsenal training next week|
|Leeds United pounce for Real Madrid goalkeeper Casilla|
|Watson lights up Gabba before power cut forces abandonment|
|Superb Serena blows Bouchard away|
|Tevez, Hulk, Oscar, Lavezzi - how the CSL stars Dembele is following to China fared|
|Thiem retires from Australian Open|
|Osaka ´not telling´ when it comes to injury niggle|
|Fabinho enjoying Klopp´s management style|
|Halep battles past Kenin in Melbourne|
|Hartley to miss England´s Six Nations opener|
|Dembele departs Spurs for Guangzhou R&F|
|Nacho convinced Isco remains important to Real Madrid|
|Warriors star Curry sets NBA record|