Inter’s hopes of a second straight Scudetto took another hit as they were held 1-1 by Fiorentina in Milan.
The reigning Serie A champions have now won just two of their past nine league matches after their stuttering form continued on Saturday.
Coach Simone Inzaghi had suggested Inter have deserved more from recent performances, but he might struggle to argue his case following a match in which Fiorentina initially lacked cutting edge but merited their lead through Lucas Torreira.
Although Denzel Dumfries soon responded with a leveller, it was not followed by a winner, meaning Inter have taken just four points from their past four games at San Siro.
The Nerazzurri knew they needed a result after Napoli’s win earlier in the day, yet they were on the back foot until late in the first half when Pietro Terracciano had to be sharp off his line to block from Edin Dzeko.
Terracciano was grateful for an offside flag against Lautaro Martinez after Dumfries’ deflected shot gave the forward a simple finish, and an incisive move early in the second half saw Fiorentina in front instead.
Gaetano Castrovilli fizzed a pass into the feet of Nico Gonzalez, who skipped past Ivan Perisic and squared for Torreira to score his second goal in as many matches.
Inter were behind for just over five minutes before Perisic floated a cross towards the back post, where Dumfries arrived to nod in.
A penalty awarded in Martinez’s favour was overturned following a VAR check as the hosts were frustrated again, and Inter ultimately needed Samir Handanovic to produce a vital stoppage-time save from Jonathan Ikone to preserve a point.
— Inter (@Inter_en) March 19, 2022
What does it mean? Inter stalling in attack
Inter’s attacking play took them to the summit this season, with their 62 Serie A goals still leading the league. Unfortunately, they have netted only nine times in their past seven matches – and five of those came in one game against Salernitana.
With their forwards no longer delivering the goods, the Nerazzurri have fallen three points off the pace, still with a game in hand on Napoli in second but without the same advantage over leaders Milan, who can move six clear later on Saturday.
Sanchez sent on too late
Alexis Sanchez was back on the bench despite rescuing a draw at Torino on Sunday with a stoppage-time equaliser, and he had to wait until the 74th minute to replace Martinez.
Inter immediately looked a more threatening proposition, even if Sanchez’s only involvement in a shot was an 89th-minute attempt brilliantly blocked by ex-Inter man Cristiano Biraghi.
Duncan dominates midfield
Torreira got the goal and Castrovilli was involved in the build-up, but it was the third member of Fiorentina’s midfield trio who stood out. Alfred Duncan was a powerful presence, making two tackles and winning five of his nine duels – opposite number Arturo Vidal won none of his six – while creating a joint-high four chances.
Key Opta Facts
– Inter have drawn five of their last nine Serie A games (W2 L2), as many as in their previous 27 matches in the competition.
– Dumfries is one of the four defenders to have both scored at least four goals and provided at least four assists in the big five European leagues this season, alongside Reece James, Jonathan Clauss and Theo Hernandez.
– There were only five minutes and eight seconds between Fiorentina’s opener and Dumfries’ equalizer.
– Torreira has scored four Serie A goals this season, his joint-best tally in a single campaign in the big five European leagues (four in 2017-18, with Sampdoria).
– Fiorentina have conceded goals in 11 away games in a row in a Serie A season for their first time since May 2010 (13 under Cesare Prandelli).
The international break is followed by one of the biggest games in Inter’s season, when they visit Turin to tackle Juventus. Eighth-placed Fiorentina’s European push resumes at home to Empoli.
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