International Champions Cup United States
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7/24/16 - Final
Autzen Stadium, Eugene, Oregon
FC Internazionale
1
Paris Saint-Germain
3

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By Matthew Judge

The Nerazzurri shot-stopper insists he prefers to lock horns with sides of the Ligue 1 champions' calibre in order to ensure he is fully prepared for a new campaign.

Samir Handanovic believes Inter's tough pre-season campaign will provide he and his team-mates with the perfect preparation ahead of the new Serie A season.

The Nerazzurri are gearing up for their maiden International Champions Cup clash against Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday, before locking horns with several other top sides this summer.

Inter also face Estudiantes, Tottenham, Borussia Monchengladbach and Celtic before they open up their Italian top-flight campaign against Chievo on 21 August.

And Handanovic is adamant that tackling a number of top teams ahead of the opening day of the season will stand Inter in good stead.

"When you start work again, the first ten days are always the hardest but then you get used to it," he told Inter's official website.

"We're constantly impressed by the facilities we've visited, they have so many top-quality facilities and pitches. I prefer to play against top-calibre sides as these matches help you understand the level you're at and what you're missing on a tactical level. Friendlies against tough opposition really help."

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Handanovic's opposite number on Sunday could be Kevin Trapp, who is looking to convince new PSG boss Unai Emery that he can be his long-term number one shot-stopper.

Trapp says he has been impressed with how quickly Emery, who replaced Laurent Blanc at the helm in June, has settled in with the French giants at their pre-season base.

He told Goal exclusively: “It’s going very well with Emery. It's like we have known each other for years. He is very open, he talks a lot with us and he is making jokes in French. We are working very hard in training to be ready for the new season. He almost never stops talking during the training sessions, but it's good.

“He knows what he wants. The players really understand what he wants. So we have smart players even if everything is not yet perfect in our game, in time we will get to do what the coach asks.”

PSG secured a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion in their only friendly affair to date, while Inter - on the other hand - have been a lot more active so far.

Inter opened up their pre-season campaign with a 0-0 draw against WSG Wattens and a 2-1 defeat against CSKA Sofia, before downing Real Salt Lake 2-1 on Wednesday.

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Paris Saint-Germain's Serge Aurier, right, gets a shot past Inter Milan goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, left, in the first half.

Mauro Icardi was conspicuous by his absence as Inter was beaten 3-1 by Paris Saint-Germain in the International Champions Cup on Sunday.

Serge Aurier's brace and Layvin Kurzawa's free kick helped Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 International Champions Cup victory over Inter, which had a noticeable absentee in the form of Mauro Icardi.

Argentine striker Icardi is reportedly in talks with Serie A rival Napoli about a switch to Stadio San Paolo as it makes contingency plans with Gonzalo Higuain seemingly on his way to Juventus.

In his absence, Stevan Jovetic was partnered with Rodrigo Palacio up front at the Autzen Stadium in Oregon, and it was the former that leveled from the penalty spot after Aurier capitalized on a Samir Handanovic error to open the scoring.

Handanovic failed to cover himself in glory again when Kurzawa put the Ligue 1 champion back in front with a second-half set piece before Aurier's second three minutes from time completed the win.

It was a deserved win for PSG and new head coach Unai Emery will certainly take positives from the movement and vibrancy his side showed in attack.

PSG went ahead in the 14th minute when Hatem Ben Arfa - signed on a free transfer this month - saw his tame free kick spilled by Handanovic and Aurier tapped in the rebound.

Inter enjoyed good moments in possession and Jovetic saw a free kick parried by Alphonse Areola, before the striker dragged a 20-yard effort wide of the right-hand post.

Some slack defending from Andrea Ranocchia allowed Maxwell an opportunity, but Handanovic was out quick to tip over the top.

And Inter were level by halftime when Lucas Moura was punished for handball in the area. Jovetic clinically smashed his spot-kick into the top-right corner.

Jovetic tested substitute goalkeeper Kevin Trapp with a stinging 25-yard effort after the break, while at the other end Aurier almost fluked one in from a right-wing centre that hit the crossbar.

PSG re-took the lead in the 61st minute, though, as Kurzawa's free kick found the bottom right-hand corner with Handanovic again perhaps feeling he could have done better.

It should have been all over with 15 minutes remaining when Edinson Cavani turned sharply in the area, but the Uruguay striker was unusually wasteful and curled his shot wide.

The win was duly wrapped up when Aurier rose highest to head home Alec Georgen's cross in the 87th minute.