Mauro Icardi’s late winning goal sealed a narrow 1-0 victory for Inter at 10-man Frosinone on Saturday, with the battling hosts denied three times by the woodwork.
Both teams struggled to create opportunities in a testy match that saw referee Paolo Tagliavento hand out seven bookings and send off Leonardo Blanchard late in the game.
Luca Paganini could have snatched a memorable victory for the hosts when his header from Oliver Kragl’s cross struck the post, Daniel Pavlovic hitting the crossbar with a free-kick and Daniel Ciofani’s late effort clipping the post.
But Icardi headed home an Ivan Perisic cross after 74 minutes to settle the match and put Inter fourth, five points behind Roma with only six games to go in the battle for third place.
The victory gives Inter their first win away from home in Serie A since January 6, while Frosinone remain in the relegation zone and are running out of matches to preserve their Serie A status.
Frosinone were without striker Federico Dionisi through suspension, while Inter’s Miranda and Yuto Nagatomo were banned after both players were sent off in last weekend’s loss to Torino.
Jonathan Biabiany had the first chance after 11 minutes, beating the offside trap to race on to Stevan Jovetic’s pass, but he sliced his shot badly off target.
Nicola Leali almost presented Jovetic with a tap-in after 21 minutes, the goalkeeper recovering well to claim the loose ball after spilling a low cross.
Ivan Perisic should have put Inter ahead after 39 minutes but he turned a cross-shot from Biabiany wide at the back post, then Kragl hit a shot straight at Samir Handanovic.
Shortly after half-time Jeison Murillo headed Marcelo Brozovic’s cross over as both sides struggled to create openings.
Daniel Ciofani almost inadvertently gave Frosinone the lead after 54 minutes, a header bouncing off him and going just wide after Handanovic missed the cross.
Inter’s first shot on target arrived just after the hour-mark, but Jovetic’s 20-yard effort was easily saved by Leali.
Frosinone knew a win would see them rise out of the relegation zone and they almost took a shock lead, Paganini’s header coming back off the post, while a superb Pavlovic free-kick crashed against the crossbar.
The reverse fixture earlier in the season was won 4-0 by Inter but they found it tough to breakdown the resilient Frosinone defence, Perisic shooting just wide after 67 minutes, before Icardi struck.
Perisic did well to dig out a cross and Icardi rose to head into Leali’s top-right corner, Jovetic almost adding a second but shooting just over the crossbar.
Blanchard was dismissed for a second yellow card with 10 minutes to go and Ciofani’s shot clipped the post as the woodwork denied Frosinone again, but Inter held on to put pressure on third-placed Roma, who play Bologna on Monday.
Key Opta stats:
-In their last seven home league games, Frosinone have conceded only three goals – two against Juventus and one today.
-Frosinone have not scored in their last three league games, their longest negative run since September.
-Inter have recorded their 14th clean sheet in Serie A in 2015/16, only Juventus (18) have more.
-Inter had no shots on target in the first half against Frosinone, in the reverse fixture they had four.
-Mauro Icardi has scored 50 goals in 100 appearances with Inter. He scored with his first and only shot in this game.
– Jonathan Biabiany was Inter player with the most shots in this game (five) but none were on target.