Inter’s run of three straight Serie A wins came to a halt in a 1-1 draw against a stubborn Bologna at San Siro on Sunday.
The Nerazzurri had recovered from a slow start to Frank de Boer’s tenure by recording victories over Pescara, Juventus and Empoli, but were unable to overcome a stubborn Bologna side on their home turf.
Hunting for a first away win of the season, Bologna made the most of a sloppy Inter start when Simone Verdi robbed Geoffrey Kondogbia of possession and played in Mattia Destro to score the opener.
De Boer is still impressing his brand of attacking football on his Inter squad and it took the home side half an hour to settle into the match, but when they did the impressive Ivan Perisic volleyed home a superb equaliser.
The script appeared to be written for Brazili striker Gabriel Barbosa to come off the bench and win it for Inter on his eagerly awaited debut, but his 18-minute appearance yielded very little and Inter squandered the chance to move three points clear of nearest rivals Roma in Serie A.
Andrea Ranocchia asserted himself on the game early on, winning key battles against dangerman Destro, but Inter’s long-ball approach proved ineffective against a Bologna side happy to sit deep.
Bologna capitalised on Inter’s uncertain start when Kondogbia gave the ball away cheaply and Verdi jinked his way into the penalty area where he played in Destro, who slotted his third goal of the season under Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
De Boer barked instructions from the touchline and Inter responded with some improved passages of play, while Perisic volleyed wide after Davide Santon’s cross found him unmarked at the far post.
Perisic was at the heart of Inter’s improvement and the Croatia international made a telling contribution in the 37th minute when he showed great technique to expertly volley Antonio Candreva’s long pass into the bottom right-hand corner.
Ever Banega went close early in the second half and Candreva’s deflected cross tested Angelo da Costa as Inter pressed for a winner.
Bologna stemmed the flow of attacks and became more difficult to break down, although Perisic carved out an opening when he beat three defenders before playing a one-two and heading the ball wide.
De Boer recognised the need for fresh legs in attack and sent on Gabriel.
The Brazili striker played to the crowd, gesturing for Inter’s fans to roar them to victory, but Andrea Ranocchia missed with a free header in the last few seconds of injury time and Bologna deservedly ground out their first away point of the season.
Key Opta stats:
– Inter have only two goalscorers (Perisic-Icardi) after six Serie A games for the first time since 2005-06.
– Mattia Destro has scored his first goal against Inter in Serie A (nine appearances).
– Antonio Candreva has delivered an assist in two consecutive Serie A matches for the first time since November 2014.
– Mattia Destro made his 150th Serie A appearance.
– Samir Handanovic made his 150th Serie A appearance with Inter.