An uninspired Inter continued their unbeaten start to the season as a Mauro Icardi’s penalty salvaged a 1-1 draw at Bologna. The point sends Inter top of the table, at least until Wednesday’s round of fixtures.
Inter were dreadful in the first half and deservedly went ahead through a stunning strike by Simone Verdi, but a much better second half performance allowed the Nerazzurri to salvage a point.
With Bologna on the back foot after Inter’s second-half resurgence, Ibrahima Mbaye slipped in the hosts’ area and fell into Eder, who flopped to the floor.
The referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot and – after double-checking with the video assistant referee – the decision stood, with Icardi keeping his nerve to slam home in the 77th minute
It set up a grandstand finish, and though Inter could not craft a winner, Roberto Donadoni’s side were left to rue some golden opportunities squandered in a first half they dominated.
Inter should have been ahead inside the first minute when Joao Mario failed to connect with Antonio Candreva’s cross after the former Lazio winger stole in behind Bologna’s defence.
Bologna responded forcefully – Federico Di Francesco curling a strike just wide before Verdi hit the right-hand upright from an acute angle.
Verdi should have done much better shortly afterwards, prodding will having latched onto a poor pass from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, but he atoned for that miss in the 32nd minute.
Moments after testing Handanovic with a dipping free-kick, Bologna’s striker breezed his way through Inter’s defence before thumping a sublime long-range shot into the left-hand corner.
Inter would have found themselves level prior to the break had Mauro Icardi got on the end of Ivan Perisic’s cross, and that chance seemed to boost Spalletti’s men after the restart.
However, it was not until the hour that Inter would bring a save out of Antonio Mirante, who reacted sharply to deny Milan Skriniar a second goal in as many matches.
Spalletti’s side grew in confidence, though Bologna continued to present a threat on the counter – Godfred Donsah blazing a strike over from distance.
Bologna were made to pay for an overall sluggish second-half approach when Eder made the most of Mbaye’s unfortunate tumble.
Icardi made no mistake with an emphatic finish high into the net, sparring Inter’s blushes and take them – temporarily at least – top of Serie A.
Key Opta stats
- Mauro Icardi has scored 6 goals in the opening 5 matchdays of the Serie A in each of the last two seasons.
- Inter have won the joint-most penalties in the top five European leagues this season (three).
- Seven of Inter’s 11 goals scored in Serie A this season have come during the last 15 minutes of games.
- Inter have won the joint-most points (four) from behind, while Bologna have dropped the same amount from winning positions.