Inter's expensively assembled squad were dealt a heavy dose of reality in a 1-0 defeat at Sassuolo in their Serie A season opener on Sunday.
Plenty is expected of Luciano Spalletti's side following an influx of fresh faces but they appeared disjointed against a team that finished seven places below them last season.
Punishment came in the shape of Domenico Berardi's 27th-minute penalty and it was all a counter-attacking Sassuolo needed to notch a seventh victory in 11 league meetings between the pair.
The Nerazzurri's highly anticipated attacking partnership of Mauro Icardi and Lautaro Martinez failed to threaten, with the injured Radja Nainggolan sure to be rushed back as soon as possible to shore up an unsteady midfield.
Spalletti's decision to name four new signings in his starting XI came at the cost of early organisation with only Samir Handanovic's outstretched left boot preventing Mehdi Bourabia from netting a third-minute opener.
The hosts did not have to wait long for a deserved lead, though, as Berardi converted from the spot in the 27th minute, Miranda having clumsily bundled over Federico Di Francesco.
Ivan Perisic stepped off the bench at the break but it was Matteo Politano who looked the most likely to conjure an equaliser against his former side, the winger flashing a fierce drive across the face on the hour.
Clearer chances soon came at both ends with Kevin Prince-Boateng brushing the outside of the near post with a clever first-time effort, before Icardi side-footed a low Perisic cross over the bar.
Stefan de Vrij threatened to snatch a point in stoppage time, but his header from Politano's delivery was impressively parried by Andrea Consigli as Sassuolo clung on.
What does it mean: Too soon for title talk
The early evidence suggests a developing Inter are, understandably, some way short of the finished article. Napoli were excellent last season and still finished four points shy of champions Juventus, who have only strengthened further over the off-season. Inter, with a 23-point gap to bridge, cannot yet be considered genuine Scudetto contenders.
Pat on the back: Duncan the driving force
Compact and disciplined from front to back, Sassuolo were richly deserving of three points. Their tireless efforts to squeeze the space in midfield were led ably by Alfred Duncan, who made numerous interceptions and provided necessary energy going forward.
Boot up the backside: Brozovic in the bad books
Spalletti undoubtedly wanted a Croatian in his midfield come the start of the season, but Marcelo Brozovic was perhaps not the player he had in mind. The 25-year-old was too often ponderous in possession, with his turnovers in the early exchanges regularly exposing Inter's high line.
Key Opta Facts
7 - Sassuolo have won more matches versus Inter in Serie A than against any other side – winning 7 of the 11 fixtures. Torment. #SassuoloInter— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) August 19, 2018
- Since 2015 Inter have lost the most Serie A games against Sassuolo (seven) - at least three more than against any other side in the period.
- Inter have lost on the opening weekend in two of the last three Serie A campaigns, the same as in their previous 23.
- Domenico Berardi has scored four goals in his last six Serie A games played against Inter.
- Sassuolo have lost only one of their six opening games in a Serie A season - three wins and two draws in their last five.
Inter head back to Milan for a meeting with Torino next Sunday, while Sassuolo visit Cagliari.
|No ´breathtaking tennis´ in Djokovic´s win against Zverev|
|Curran: England spinners will be key in Kandy|
|Djokovic charges past Zverev to move closer to ATP Finals progression|
|Messi is a football alien - Malcom|
|Sky´s the limit for Sancho, says Dortmund team-mate Pulisic|
|Radwanska retires from tennis at 29|
|Maybe one day - Pulisic open to Premier League move|
|Suso ´proud´ of Real Madrid speculation but happy at AC Milan|
|Betis president convinced Lo Celso will stay|
|Injured Holder out of Bangladesh tour|
|Germany face relegation, final spots up for grabs - Nations League state of play|
|James Rodriguez out for several weeks with knee injury|
|Curran´s brilliant fifty rescues England´s innings|
|Lenglet: No problem with Dembele at Barca|
|Townsend rings the changes for Springboks clash|
|Claudio Ranieri´s managerial career in Opta numbers|
|Mahmudullah´s first century in eight years boosts Bangladesh|
|Fellaini gets the chop ahead of 31st birthday|
|Maradona: Solari will not last at Real Madrid|
|Molinari: Race to Dubai success would not surpass Ryder Cup glory with Fleetwood|
|Dortmund star Sancho was a Bayern target, confirms Salihamidzic|
|Gerrard enjoying ´buzz´ of management|
|Hamilton questions approach to Formula One expansion|
|Ranieri honoured to lead ´exceptional´ Fulham squad|
|Solari saw Isco out of shape - Ceballos|
|Ranieri replaces Jokanovic at Fulham|
|Durant keeps details of Green spat ´in-house´ but envisages resolution|
|Rooney: Kane and Sterling are England superstars|
|Messi will make Argentina return, says Maradona|
|Warriors drop Hawks as Green serves suspension|
|In-form Healy sends Australia into semis|
|Former NBA star McGrady says Carmelo Anthony should retire|
|Celtics´ Smart: We have to look at ourselves in the mirror|
|Federer plays down preferential treatment talk|
|Mourinho is better than Guardiola – Maradona|
|Mbappe plays down Pele comparisons|
|Don´t worry bro – Mendy responds to Trump|
|Melvin, Snitker win manager of the year awards|
|Warriors´ Green suspended for Hawks clash|
|Asensio: It´s not for me to lead Madrid|
|Rooney ready to enjoy England farewell after pressure of ´Golden Generation´|
|Ludwigsburg stun high-flying Murcia in BCL|
|Rams v Chiefs moved to LA due to Mexico City field conditions|
|Skriniar discussing new Inter contract, confirms agent|
|Former Barcelona boss Martino named MLS Coach of the Year|
|Bell fails to report to Steelers, will sit out rest of season|
|Federer back on track after dismal Thiem display|
|Udinese appoint Nicola after sacking Velazquez|
|Monaco deny they broke rules regarding youth recruitment|
|Del Bosque, Zidane, Lopetegui - The former Castilla coaches Solari follows into Real Madrid hot seat|
|Ozil rejected ´crazy offers´ from Asia, reveals agent|
|Real Madrid appoint Solari on permanent basis|
|LeVert avoids need for surgery, should return this season|
|Neuer confident despite concerns over Bayern Munich form|
|All I ever wanted to do is win, says Sixers signing Butler|
|Pogba: Coming home to United was the best feeling ever|
|Watson among four signing new Bath deals|
|Susanna Dinnage to replace Scudamore as Premier League chief executive|
|Murray commits to Brighton until 2020|
|Rooney rejected chance of pre-World Cup farewell|
|Impressive Anderson thrashes Nishikori|
|Ozil´s Germany absence a ´pity´, says Sane|
|Rooney: I´ll finish my career in the US|
|McIlroy unsure of 2019 European Tour membership|
|Australian Open dismisses concerns of Federer scheduling bias|
|Hue Jackson joins Bengals staff as ´special assistant´|
|Real Madrid confirm Reguilon injury|
|Higuain handed two-match ban for Juve meltdown|
|Kruis ruled out for England as Jones calls up uncapped quartet|
|A year on from Italy failure, Ventura leaves Chievo after four games|