Inter had to fight back twice in a spectacular 3-3 San Siro draw with Parma, as Rodrigo Palacio and Nicola Sansone bagged braces.
The Nerazzurri needed a boost after two consecutive draws and a scraped 3-2 Coppa Italia victory over Serie B minnows Trapani midweek. The injury crisis continued with Mauro Icardi, Diego Milito, Walter Samuel and Cristian Chivu out, while Yuto Nagatomo was only fit for the bench. All eyes were on Antonio Cassano, who returned to face the club he left over the summer in bitter circumstances. FantAntonio was meant to be wearing a protective mask after fracturing his nose last week, but took it off straight away and complained it was uncomfortable. Joel Obi, Nicola Pavarini, Daniele Galloppa and Stefano Okaka didn’t make the trip.
Parma’s only Serie A victory in this fixture was back in May 1999 along with six draws and 15 defeats, seven of those consecutive.
Gabriel Paletta tested Samir Handanovic in the opening minutes and the bright start paid off, as Parma took the lead to silence San Siro. Marco Marchionni’s through ball released Nicola Sansone, who kept his cool to side-foot past the on-rushing goalkeeper.
Inter failed to equalise with a golden opportunity, as Fredy Guarin flashed a ball across the six-yard box to the back post, where Rodrigo Palacio somehow ballooned over the bar. Walter Gargano hobbled off against his former club.
Mateo Kovacic set up Palacio, who went too wide to beat Antonio Mirante, then the young Croat went for goal himself and fired over. Palacio just failed to get his head to an Esteban Cambiasso cross, but it should’ve been 2-0 on 41 minutes.
Sansone scuffed the first attempt and Mattia Cassani put it back into the middle where Afriyie Acquah’s tap-in was charged down by Andrea Ranocchia.
However, Inter equalised on the stroke of half-time. Jonathan flashed a ball across the face of goal and Palacio came sliding in to connect.
Just as the hosts had their tails up, Handanovic made an uncharacteristic howler to gift Parma the lead once more. The goalkeeper bent down to smother a harmless Paletta cross, but let it slip through his arms and Marco Parolo pounced on the loose ball from a yard.
After the restart Ricky Alvarez went down far too easily and the referee waved away penalty appeals. Alvarez did better when getting down the left, as his cross found Palacio for a header that ricocheted in off the inside of the near post.
Just over 60 seconds had passed when Inter managed to turn the game around completely. Palacio knocked down a cross for Guarin, whose shot from the edge of the box took a massive deflection off Alessandro Lucarelli to leave Mirante helplessly stranded.
Parma would not give in and got back on level terms four minutes later. Cassani pulled a ball across from the right and Sansone came sliding in from six yards to equalise.
Handanovic plucked a Paletta header out of the air from a corner and Cassano’s audacious lob was over the bar. Palacio was harshly penalised when clear on goal for a nudge on Lucarelli and Juan Jesus charged down a Cassano counter.
Kovacic drilled just wide and Paletta turned over from a set play, then Handanovic flew to palm an Acquah strike over the bar on the counter-attack.
Parma threatened again in the closing stages with Ranocchia’s decisive block turning Biabiany’s attempt out for a corner. Biabiany got past Juan Jesus to pull back for Sansone, but Hugo Campagnaro charged down the finish with his face.
Biabiany looked fresher than the rest in the final minutes and forced another corner, from which Paletta’s header was deflected wide.
In stoppages Cambiasso volleyed into the ground for a fine Mirante save.