Teenage goalkeeper Simone Scuffet performed heroics for Udinese to secure a share of the points from a thrilling scoreless draw with Inter which dented the Milan giants’ UEFA Europa League hopes on Thursday. Inter hosted the northerners looking to make amends for a 2-1 home defeat to Atalanta at the weekend. But despite dominating for large periods, Walter Mazzarri’s men were frustrated by an astute Udinese defence as well as the quick reflexes of 17-year-old Scuffet.
Having dropped to below mid-table, Udinese were visiting the San Siro for the first time since knocking AC Milan out of the Coppa Italia in January. Coach Francesco Guidolin decided to rest veteran striker Antonio Di Natale for Colombian striker Luis Muriel and in the first half the visitors shaded the encounter with Muriel coming close twice.
Inter’s Fredy Guarin saw a powerful free-kick go over but moments later ‘keeper Samir Handanovic had to react quickly to parry a Bruno Fernandes shot, with Emmanuelo Badu seeing his follow-up deflected into the side-netting.
With Inter owner Erick Thohir in the stands, Mazzarri was under more pressure than usual and the frustration on the Nerazzurri coach’s face was evident throughout a frustrating second half. Inter laid seige to the Udinese goal but were denied at every step, including a surefire winner on 88 minutes when Maurizio Domizzi produced a flying kick on the goalline to keep out Danilo D’Ambrosio’s header after Scuffet had got his hand to Esteban Cambiasso’s strike.
Inter had claims for a penalty waved away in the first minute of added-on time when Rodrigo Palacio’s cross came off the elbow of Thomas Heurtaux and Juan Jesus saw his late drive deflected with Scuffet beaten.
Inter now have a league-topping 12 draws this season and although still in fifth place they have spurned the chance to close the gap to Fiorentina, who suffered a shock 2-0 defeat to Milan on Wednesday.
Fiorentina remain fourth, ten points behind third-placed Napoli but four ahead of Inter.