Inter’s Bergamo taboo continues, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta when German Denis replied to Ricky Alvarez.
The Lombardy Derby has become even more fiery in recent years, as Atalanta beat their rivals twice last season – including a stunning 4-3 victory at San Siro – while Inter’s last win in Bergamo was in April 2008.
The hosts were without Giacomo Bonaventura, Stefano Lucchini, Gianpaolo Bellini, Franco Brienza and the suspended Constantin Nica, so switched to a 3-5-2 system with Marko Livaja, co-owned by Inter. Walter Samuel made his first appearance of the campaign, though Hugo Campagnaro, Javier Zanetti, Diego Milito, Cristian Chivu and the banned Ishak Belfodil were unavailable. Mateo Kovacic moved to a role behind Rodrigo Palacio, moving Ricky Alvarez to midfield.
Atalanta thought they had taken the lead after nine minutes when Michele Canini got his head to a Luca Cigarini free kick, but Fredy Guarin performed a decisive goalline clearance.
The Orobici had dominated the early stages, but went behind when Ricky Alvarez gathered from Rodrigo Palacio’s knockdown and spun to fire in at the near post from six yards.
Atalanta got back to pushing and Mario Yepes turned a diving header wide from a corner, then the ex-Milan defender’s effort was tipped out from under the bar by Handanovic.
The pressure finally paid off with a German Denis header looping into the far top corner from a Maxi Moralez cross. It was El Tanque’s seventh career goal against Inter and he got the better of fellow Argentine Samuel in the air.
More bad news for Inter, as Handanovic was grimacing and clutching his right hip for most of the first half. He still managed to get down in order to smother a deflected Carlos Carmona shot. Yuto Nagatomo hit the upright with a header, but the cross had already gone out of play.
As expected, Handanovic did not come out for the second half, making way for Juan Pablo Carrizo. Esteban Cambiasso and Livaja both tested the goalkeepers with long-range snapshots, while Inter had a goal ruled offside for Palacio’s position when setting up Alvarez.
Alvarez nearly scored his second of the game, forcing Andrea Consigli to parry with his legs at the near post. At the other end, a crucial Cambiasso clearance stopped Denis nodding in a corner.
Mauro Icardi came off the bench and almost restored Inter’s lead on 72 minutes, as he cut back past Yepes and smacked his shot against the base of the upright.
The other subsitute, Guido Marilungo, also had a chance but only prodded it meekly into Carrizo’s arms. Yepes went much closer, as a corner fell to him from six yards, but Carrizo performed a decisive reaction save.
Icardi had penalty appeals for a tussle with Guglielmo Stendardo, but seemed to lose his balance when trying to turn. In stoppages Alvarez attempted a screamer from distance that flashed inches past the far top corner with Consigli beaten.