Alberto Gilardino ruined Inter’s 105th anniversary party as Bologna earned a shock yet fully deserved victory at San Siro.
This was an extremely special game for two reasons. Yesterday was the 105th anniversary of Inter’s foundation and Javier Zanetti marked his 600th Serie A match.
The Nerazzurri were humiliated 3-0 by Tottenham in the Europa League on Thursday and were desperate to get back on track. Juan Pablo Carrizo stepped in for the suspended Samir Handanovic, while Diego Milito, Ricky Alvarez, Walter Samuel, Joel Obi, Matias Silvestre, Yuto Nagatomo and Gaby Mudingayi were injured. Antonio Cassano made his first Serie A start since a blazing locker room row with Coach Andrea Stramaccioni. Bologna were beaten 3-2 in extra time here for the Coppa Italia in January after fighting back from 2-0 down. Panagiotis Kone sat out a ban with Cesare Natali and Niccolò Cherubin sidelined.
Fredrik Sorensen nodded over from a free kick after just 100 seconds, then Manolo Gabbiadini hit the side-netting as Bologna came flying out the blocks.
Alberto Gilardino let a long ball bounce and smashed the scorching half-volley inches past the far post as it flashed across Carrizo.
Gabbiadini was booked for simulation when going down under a clean but still physical Andrea Ranocchia challenge, so that was a little harsh.
The Curva Nord protested at the lack of options in the squad by unfurling a banner that read: ‘Let us have a go, one of us is bound to be good and at least we’d be Interisti…’
A dangerous Diamanti free kick flashed all the way across the face of goal with nobody able to get the final touch. Inter were very poor in the first half and jeers rained down from the stands when Ezequiel Schelotto’s misplaced pass wasted a Rodrigo Palacio counter-attack.
Gianluca Curci fumbled a free kick, but got it under control before any Inter players could take advantage.
A very dangerous Gyorgy Garics cross found Gabbiadini’s header at the back post, but the finish was deflected wide by Zanetti. Moments later Gabbiadini again failed to make the most of an Andrea Ranocchia error.
Inter finally created a chance before the break with Schelotto’s cross, but it was cleared by Archimede Morleo. At the half-time whistle a chorus of deafening jeers came down from the stands.
Stramaccioni introduced Cassano for midfielder Marco Benassi and they immediately looked a different team. Dejan Stankovic hesitated on the edge of the D and allowed his shot to be charged down, then moments later Ranocchia was last man to intercept a Gila pass for the unmarked Lazaros Christodoulopoulos.
Bologna took a deserved lead when Diego Perez chipped a pass over the top that Gilardino volleyed at full stretch with his right foot across a completely static Carrizo. The goalkeeper was rooted to the spot.
Curci dropped a corner, but nobody was able to make the most of it. The move continued and the goalkeeper beat a cross away at Ranocchia’s feet in the six-yard box.
Fredy Guarin’s solo effort forced Curci to palm it out for a corner, but Juan Jesus was booked for dissent and will be suspended for the next game.
Cassano let the ball drop over his shoulder for a great first touch and cut back inside, but Naldo stuck to him like glue and a crucial sliding tackle charged down the shot.
From that corner, the ball came to Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the box and his fresh-air shot saw him fall to the ground in a heap.
From a Bologna corner, ex-Inter midfielder Rene Krhin’s header into the ground bounced and Carrizo palmed it out from under the bar.
A spectacular Ranocchia overhead kick went over the bar, but Cassano was furious as he was in a better position to score. The Nerazzurri had a very promising free kick just outside the area, but Walter Gargano hit it straight into the wall.
Ranocchia nodded a Guarin cross over, as the defender was basically playing as centre-forward in the closing stages. Curci needed a great reaction save to deny Esteban Cambiasso in stoppages, as Bologna held out for a memorable victory. It was Inter’s first home defeat since September against Siena.