Real Sociedad 1-1 Internazionale: Martínez finds late equaliser to seal UEFA Champions League draw

Disassembled in Istanbul by a robust Manchester City side just a few months ago, Internazionale’s return to UEFA Champions League action saw i Nerazzurri travel to the Iberian Peninsula. They’d encounter a struggling Real Sociedad outfit that has only claimed one win from five LaLiga fixtures thus far this season.

RSO: Remiro; Tierney, Le Normand, Zubeldia, Traore; Merino, Zubimendi, Méndez; Oyarzabal, Barrenetxea, Kubo

INT: Sommer; Bastoni, de Vrij, Pavard; Augusto, Mkhitaryan, Asllani, Barella, Dumfries; Arnautovic, Martínez

Internazionale have enjoyed a solid start to the Serie A campaign, but there were signs of frailty within their defence from the early stages of this clash in San Sebastian as Andre Barrenetxea was able to capitalise on poor positioning to thump an effort against the woodwork within the opening three minutes.

And while that should have served as a wakeup call for the Nerazzurri, Simone Inzaghi found his side trailing merely a minute later. An uncharacteristic mistake from Alessandro Bastoni saw the Italian defender dispossessed in his own half, allowing Brais Méndez to cast Real Sociedad into the lead.

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Internazionale simply didn’t resemble European Finalists. Robin Le Normand should have doubled the home advantage when he was left unmarked in the area to latch onto Takefusa Kubo’s cross – but the defender couldn’t quite make the connection.

Inzaghi’s men failed to improve after the break, and Yann Sommer was forced into action within minutes of play resuming. Méndez was keen to complete his brace, but a fine save from the Swiss shotstopper saw his free-kick denied – and Mikel Oyarzabal’s header was kept out at close range too.

It looked as though bad would turn to worse for i Nerazzurri when Nicolo Barella was dismissed for an unlawful stamp on Méndez, although a VAR review cleared the midfielder of any wrongdoing. Still, Internazionale looked utterly uninspiring and were lucky to avoid falling further behind as Mikel Merino planted his header wide of Sommer’s goal.

But with their first – and only – shot on target, Internazionale rescued an undeserved point through Lautaro Martínez. The Argentine forward did well to dash onto Davide Frattesi’s poorly-hit shot, firing an effort into the roof of the net to preserve Inter’s unbeaten start to the 2023/24 campaign.

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Real Sociedad will face RB Salzburg on 3 October, while Internazionale will be hoping for a much improved performance as they welcome Benfica to the San Siro on the same date.