Lautaro spares Inter's blushes as Sociedad silenced in captivating Group D opener

Lautaro spares Inter's blushes as Sociedad silenced in captivating Group D opener
Martinez scored a late goal to give Inter vital away point
Martinez scored a late goal to give Inter vital away point
A wasteful Real Sociedad were punished on their return to the UEFA Champions League, as Lautaro Martinez’s (26) 87th-minute equaliser earned Inter Milan a 1-1 draw at the Reale Arena.

Inter’s imperious start to the Serie A season has seen them concede just once in their first four games, but there were early signs that a reshuffled backline wasn’t so solid in San Sebastian.

Ander Barrenetxea, who had scored 10 of his 14 Sociedad goals on home soil, smashed an effort against the post inside the first three minutes. The Nerazzurri didn’t heed their warning though, and less than a minute later they were behind.

The usually-composed Alessandro Bastoni was caught in possession in his own third, and Brais Mendez capitalised to rifle home the opener.

Simone Inzaghi cut an angry figure on the touchline, but if anything, the visitors worsened as the half went on.

Sociedad were cutting through at will, and only Robin Le Normand will know how he missed a free header from inside the six-yard box after some brilliant work on the right by Takefusa Kubo.

The Japanese international would threaten before the break too, as his low effort was well parried by Yann Sommer, with Inter needing a serious rethink at the interval.

Whatever Inzaghi said in his team talk clearly didn’t land with his players, as Sommer was forced into two top-class saves within minutes of the restart.

Real Sociedad celebrate opening goal

First, he leapt to deny Mendez’s free-kick before he made a stunning stop at point-blank range to prevent Mikel Oyarzabal’s header.

A miserable evening nearly got worse for Inter when Nicolo Barella was sent off for a perceived stamp on Mendez, but the decision was eventually overturned on review.

Despite that reprieve, they continued to struggle and could have been further behind had Mikel Merino directed his header on target.

The visitors then thought they’d orchestrated a perfect smash-and-grab raid when Marcus Thuram slotted home, only for his goal to be ruled out for offside.

Moments later, with their first shot on target, Inter would snatch the unlikeliest of levellers. A mis-hit shot from Davide Frattesi was well anticipated by Martinez, who reacted first to slam into the roof of the net and save his side’s unbeaten start to the season.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Brais Mendez (Real Sociedad)

See all the match stats here.

Group D table

In the night's other fixtures:

In the second match being played in Group D, Red Bull Salzburg claimed a stunning 2-0 win in their 2023/24 UEFA Champions League opener at the Estadio da Luz, ending Benfica’s historic unbeaten run against Austrian opposition at eight games.

See the full match stats here.

Over in Group C, It was a cruel return to the UEFA Champions League for SC Braga, who succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Scudetto holders SSC Napoli in their first appearance in Europe’s most prestigious club competition for 11 years.

Read the full match report here.


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