MILAN - Trabzonspor, a team that failed
to initially qualify for Europe's elite tournament, ripped up
the Champions League formbook in style with a 1-0 win at
beleaguered 2010 winners Inter Milan in their group stage debut
Ondrej Celustka struck 14 minutes from time to leave Inter
reeling and pile the pressure on new coach Gian Piero Gasperini
after only three games in the job.
The Turkish runners-up, only in the competition after
Fenerbahce were withdrawn because of match-fixing allegations,
looked comfortable throughout before Celustka expertly hooked
the ball in on the slide after Halil Altintop hit the bar.
Just before the goal, Inter substitute Diego Milito spurned
two gilt-edged chances when his close-range effort was saved and
then his header went over but generally the hosts were poor in
their opening Group B clash.
Gasperini has now lost his first three matches in charge,
including the Italian Super Cup defeat by AC Milan.
"We are not in a lucky moment, this defeats leaves us with
lots of regrets but the team know they have given a lot and put
in a decent showing," Gasperini told Sky TV.
"We are a team that will definitely get better, we have
potential, will will get injured players back. The will and the
determination of the players is clear. Moratti has always really
The coach has though already been criticised in the media by
the club's owner Massimo Moratti, who has seen bosses Jose
Mourinho, Rafa Benitez and Leonardo leave since their 2010
treble as last season went sour.
Moratti has also been left red-faced after the club failed
to realise that new striker Diego Forlan was ineligible for the
Champions League because of European action this term for
Former Genoa coach Gasperini, inexperienced at the top
level, abandoned the three-man defence that flopped in Sunday's
opening 4-3 Serie A defeat at Palermo and reverted to their
traditional four at the back but it made little difference.
A spark was lacking and the hosts only really came to life
midway through the second half when Mauro Zarate had a shot
saved at the near post and then strike partner Giampaolo Pazzini
failed to connect with the goal at his mercy.
Wesley Sneijder wasted another free kick just after the
break and Inter continued to labour with their slow build-up
play giving the visitors ample chance to cover any gaps.
Disjointed Inter were second in Serie A last season behind
Milan and few fans expect the current crop to challenge for a
title in Europe this campaign.
Wednesday's performance will reinforce that view and send
odds tumbling of Inter going through a fifth manager in just
over a year even if Trabzonspor failed to offer much threat
until Czech Celustka's goal.
The visitors, who had two players suspended and coach Senol
Gunes banned from the bench, had goalkeeper Tolga Zengin to
thank for some smart saves late on.
Inter next travel to CSKA Moscow on September 27 when
Trabzonspor host Lille, who drew 2-2 at home to the Russian side
in their group opener on Wednesday.
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