Shenzhen: A breathtaking volley from central defender Philippe Mexes gave AC Milan a 1-0 win over rivals Inter in a pre-season friendly in Shenzhen, China on Saturday.
The 33-year-old defender, who was awarded a surprise one-year contract extension earlier this month despite enduring a troubled season in Serie A, launched himself in the air to smash home Giacomo Bonaventura`s corner just after the hour mark.
The stunning strike earned him a playful kick up the backside from coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who was appointed in June and tasked with restoring Milan to Champions League football.
There will be no European football for Milan`s two clubs this season after Inter finished eighth and Milan two spots below them.
With humidity reaching around 85 percent in the southern Chinese city, both teams made full use of substitutions and a water break in each half.
While Inter started with a mostly second-string side, Milan fielded a more experienced lineup to kick off the International Champions Cup match and enjoyed much of the early possession, their best chance coming though French forward M`Byae Niang.
Scoreless at halftime, Milan made a raft of substitutions at the break but waited until an hour had gone before bringing on Carlos Bacca, their big-money signing from Sevilla.
While the Colombian`s entrance brought cheers from Milan fans in the crowd, it was volatile defender Mexes who stole the show two minutes later with a goal of stunning quality.
Inter pushed hard for an equaliser but their urgency brought an ugly edge to the game with both sides guilty of committing needless, sometimes nasty, fouls.
Three minutes from time Milan`s Antonio Nocerino received a straight red card for scything down Inter`s new arrival from Monaco, Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Inter`s Hernanes had a chance to equalise in stoppage time but the Brazilian fired wide.
Inter travel to Guangzhou to face Real Madrid on July 27 before Milan wrap up the tournament against the Spanish giants in Shanghai three days later.