United target Perisic shines as Inter wins ICC Singapore

Croatian winger Ivan Perisic showed exactly why English Premier League giants Manchester United are heavily linked with him yet again tonight in a 2-1 win against Chelsea.

Tightly marked by Victor Moses and Willian during the first half, the Inter man found his rhythm and mojo after the break and left his name in the score-sheet.

On the counter, Stevan Jovetic played the perfect through ball to the winger. Perisic switched to his second gear and left Cesar Azpilicueta behind. His shot went across Thibaut Courtois and rippled the bottom right-hand corner.

If there was a ‘Most Valuable Player of the Tournament’ title, Perisic would be in strong contention to claim it. The 28-year-old also was in excellent form in the previous game against Bayern and claimed an assist for Eder’s second goal in a 2-0 win.

In the process of scoring that impressive goal, Perisic helped Inter win the International Champions Cup Singapore 2017 as the Nerazzurri edged out both German and English Champions Bayern and Chelsea.

If there was a ‘Most Valuable Player of the Tournament’ title, Perisic would be in strong contention to claim it. The 28-year-old also was in excellent form in the previous game against Bayern and claimed an assist for Eder’s second goal in a 2-0 win.

When asked about the Croat’s heavily linked move away from the San Siro to Old Trafford, Spalleti kept his thoughts short, testy and straight to the point.

“Last year, with Perisic, Inter did not win anything. He is one man, we are one team.” said the 58-year-old.

Chelsea found the going tough once again

One man, in particular, was delighted to see his close friend in action. Home United striker Stipe Plazibat was in attendance as he spoke highly of his childhood friend.

“In the first half, he was a bit shy. In the second, however, he was a beast! That was his trademark goal. He was great in the second half.”

He added: “I think he should go (to Manchester United). He is definitely ready for the challenge!”

This match started brightly, but the intensity and goal-mouth action dwindled as the game progressed.

The closest Chelsea came to a goal in the first half was via Willian. The Brazilian trickster got onto a loose ball and fired his shot just over the bar in the 28th minute

The end of the first half had some drama. When referee Sukhbir Singh blew the whistle after a tussle between Azpilicueta and Jovetic, it seemed like it was for a goal kick.

However, the 32,547 fans present at the stadium erupted as the S.League referee pointed to the spot. Jovetic stepped up for the spot kick and although Courtois saved the initial attempt, he could not reach Jovetic’s rebound in time.

After his goal, Perisic could have claimed an assist for himself. Played through on goal by Borja Valero, Perisic was once again goal-bound. Right when he looked like he steadied himself for the perfect finesse shot, he passed it to the unmarked Joao Mario.

The Portuguese, playing as a make-shift striker, fired it straight at the experienced Courtois.

Marking a new era for the Nerazzurri?

With the score reading 2-0, Chelsea could not muster a comeback but their attempts were boosted by Inter’s very own Geoffrey Kondogbia. Coming on as a substitute, Kondogbia attempted a 40-yard chip pass to his keeper Daniele Padelli.

Unfortunately for the French midfielder, the keeper was not on his goal line and in the process, he might have produced one of the most comical own-goals of all time.

“I think he should go (to Manchester United). He is definitely ready for the challenge!”

- Home striker Plazibat on close friend Perisic

Chelsea then threw the kitchen sink at Inter after that own goal and found the back of the net again in the 86th minute through Michy Batshuayi. However, to the disappointment of the many Chelsea fans at the National Stadium, the Belgian was flagged offside.

Antonio Conte seemed a slightly disappointed man during the press conference and called on his new forward Alvaro Morata to improve with the impending new season. The Spaniard was lively but failed to make any impact tonight.

“Morata is starting well with the team now and he has to improve a lot. He has to improve and go quickly with the football and the team, he is working well although it’s been 5 days. Today he tried to do his best for sure but he has to improve.

Photos: 2017 International Champions Cup Singapore