Inter fought back from a goal down to beat Fiorentina 2-1 with great strikes from Esteban Cambiasso and Jonathan.
These sides were locked together on 10 points and eager to close in on leaders Roma in the final game of Week 5. Walter Mazzarri stuck with the same starting XI that thrashed Sassuolo 7-0 on Sunday, while the Viola were without Mario Gomez, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado and the suspended David Pizarro.
Fiorentina hoped to break their San Siro curse, having lost their last 12 consecutive visits in all competition. Their most recent victory was in May 2000 and this fixture hadn’t ended in a draw since November 1996.
The Curva Nord was empty due to a ban for insulting chants during Inter-Juventus. Yuto Nagatomo had the first shot on target after 50 seconds, well smothered by Neto.
Samir Handanovic was also called into action for a one-handed save on Giuseppe Rossi’s angled drive, then Saphir Taider hit the side-netting on a counter-attack. The visitors tended to slow it down with their trademark patient passing moves, whereas the hosts opted for rapid breaks.
Rossi’s intelligent slide-rule pass sent Joaquin clear and Handanovic did well to parry with his legs. Another attempt from the Spanish winger flashed across the face of goal, as did Rossi’s effort.
There was bad news for Fiorentina, who lost captain Manuel Pasqual to a thigh problem and he made way for Marcos Alonso.
Gonzalo Rodriguez crucially blocked a dangerous Ricky Alvarez pull-back from the by-line. After the restart Rossi couldn’t get enough power to his header into Handanovic’s arms, but Neto had his gloves stung by a fierce long-range Fredy Guarin strike.
The referee pointed to the spot for a Juan Jesus shirt-tug on Joaquin. Rossi stepped up and beat penalty specialist Handanovic despite the goalkeeper guessing the right angle.
Handanovic fumbled a Nenad Tomovic cross and almost let it squirm over his shoulder into the net, but was able to recover. Nagatomo dribbled past Joaquin for a deflected shot that Neto captured. Guarin was substituted and made gestures towards those members of the crowd who had jeered him, only further inflaming the situation.
Inter fought back and equalised with an acrobatic Esteban Cambiasso effort. Neto was all at sea on a corner, fumbling and leaving the net open when Cambiasso eventually got it over the line with a tricky chest and swivelling volley at the near post. It was his sixth career goal against favourite victims Fiorentina.
Both sides poured forward and had the chances to win it, though the Viola went closer when Josip Ilicic was unmarked to finish a fine passing move and found Handanovic’s gloves.
However, Inter took the lead for the first time with an absolute screamer from Jonathan. He gathered an Alvarez chipped pass, flicked it round Mati Fernandez and smashed it under the bar.
Fiorentina poured forward, but sparked a counter-attack from their corner and Alvaro Pereira’s shot was palmed out for a corner when he should’ve rolled across for Palacio.
Nagatomo’s curler was just off target in a chaotic finale that was end-to-end stuff, as in stoppages Handanovic smothered a Massimo Ambrosini effort at full stretch.