Ivan Perisic took arguably the worst free-kick of the season vs Rapid Vienna


Inter Milan's preparations for their Europa League fixture with Rapid Vienna were far from ideal. 

The Nerazzurri overcame a turbulent few days as they earned a 1-0 away win in the first leg of the Europa League's round-of-32. 

Lautaro Martinez scored the vital penalty in the 39th minute - and it was just as well, given that their top scorer was nowhere to be seen. 

The club announced on Wednesday that Mauro Icardi would be stripped of the captaincy, the armband going to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic from now on. 

In response, the Argentine international refused to travel to Austria.

"He was called up for Vienna but he did not want to be there," head coach Luciano Spalletti was quoted by the BBC.

"Things around him have disturbed him and the team he captained. Now we have to focus all our attention on Thursday's game."

To their credit, the three-time European champions did just that and should be confident of going through to the last-16. 

It has to be said, nonetheless, that they were noticeably lacklustre going forward. Inter looked solid at the back but this was far from an inspiring night at the office. 

Inter didn't click going forward 

With Keita Baldé Diao still not ready to return, Martinez was the only one who really stepped up. 

Ivan Perisic and Antonio Candreva were both disappointing and their free-kick drill deep into stoppage time just about summed it up:

Candreva didn't look ready, and Perisic appeared to lay the ball off so early that it gave the defender all the time in the world to knock it away. Very poor indeed. 

In the grand scheme of things, it mattered little, but it was another alarming symptom of an attack that just didn't seem to be in sync with one another. 

The irony is that Icardi might well have made a difference to a side who must now weigh up whether he has reached a point of no-return. 

The striker has brazenly fluttered his eyelashes at Real Madrid and has also been linked with Chelsea. 

Parma Calcio v FC Internazionale - Serie A

He has suffered calls for him to be demoted before, when he fell out with the Curva Nord ultras in October 2016. 

In subsequent games, he was whistled and there were reports he had even received death threats.

The 25-year-old managed to turn a corner, but the San Siro faithful have never since loved him in the way outsiders might expect.

On Thursday night's evidence, Spalletti has a little more to think about when it comes to the dynamics of his attack. 

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