Inter ran a few risks and Catania were denied a penalty, but Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio secured the 2-0 victory.
The Nerazzurri had revived Scudetto hopes after their derby victory and needed a win to keep up with Lazio in third place. Yuto Nagatomo was suspended after his red card against Milan, joining the injured Wesley Sneijder, Dejan Stankovic, Macdonald Mariga and Cristian Chivu. Andrea Stramaccioni reshuffled again with a trident attack including Rodrigo Palacio. Catania had never won at San Siro, though they fumbled a 2-0 lead here last season to draw. Giuseppe Bellusci and Augustyn were sidelined.
There were 14 Argentines on the field to start this game and Catania had the first great scoring opportunity when a Pablo Barrientos through ball split the defence, sending Sergio Almiron clear, but Joel Obi threw himself in front and did enough to force his shot over the bar.
The Sicilians were again dangerous as Giovanni Marchese skipped past Obi down the left and couldn’t quite get his pass across to Gonzalo Bergessio.
Inter struggled to create chances with this new system, but Palacio nodded a wonderful Antonio Cassano long pass into the arms of Mariano Andujar.
The Nerazzurri did break through with Cassano just shy of the half-hour mark. Diego Milito sparked the move, pulled back for Esteban Cambiasso whose long cross found a precise Cassano header at the back post.
Samir Handanovic had to fly in order to pluck a swerving Marchese strike out of the air, then on the stroke of half-time Mariano Izco incredibly turned a diving header wide when totally unmarked!
Cassano rolled across and Palacio just failed to get on the end of it from three yards in front of an open goal.
Andujar got just enough of his hand on to a Milito angled drive to turn it past the far post, albeit with quite a few nerves, then from the corner Palacio nodded wide from a very promising position.
Catania did have a good opportunity, but both Bergessio and Barrientos failed to get their shot away inside the box.
A Barrientos wayward shot turned into a cross that Almiron threw himself at, but could not get the final touch with his head. The Sicilians were pouring forward and Almiron’s turn was deflected off Ranocchia for a corner.
Ricky Alvarez nearly killed off the game on the counter-attack, but hesitated so he could get the ball on to his left foot, allowing Nicolas Spolli to close him down from six yards.
Catania went on the counter from that corner and Gomez wanted a penalty for Fredy Guarin’s challenge, but the referee waved play on. Replays suggest he certainly did not get the ball, so Catania were denied a penalty.
It was wide open now and Ranocchia again threatened to add a second, but he was denied by the frame of the goal on his header from Cambiasso’s cross.
Alvarez was very sluggish yet again on the counter and hesitated to fire straight at the goalkeeper.
Inter did get their second in the final minutes despite the pressure they were under. Palacio chested down a Milito cross on the counter and smashed the volley across Andujar.