Inter dominated possession, but were held to a surprise home stalemate by bottom of the table Catania. Remarkably, it's the first point the Sicilians have earned on their travels this season.
President Erick Thohir flew in this morning and is in the stands, hoping to see the Nerazzurri’s first victory of 2014. They had lost three of the last five Serie A games, went out of the Coppa Italia to Udinese and left Fredy Guarin out after the controversial abandoned transfer to Juventus. Catania were propping up the table and Coach Rolando Maran returned last week with a 3-0 defeat to Fiorentina, but had Francesco Lodi back from suspension. Pablo Barrientos was on a ban with Pablo Alvarez injured and Nicolas Spolli suffering from flu.
The atmosphere was tense, as Inter ultras held a protest to welcome the team bus and continued their demands for director general Marco Fassone to quit inside the stadium.
Inter pinned Catania back from the start, but struggled to make a real impact, as Nicola Legrottaglie took a Ricky Alvarez cross off Rodrigo Palacio’s head. Rolando just failed to get his toe to a corner when it just had to be prodded in from six yards.
Palacio did reach a Jonathan cross, but couldn’t get clean contact and nodded wide. Alberto Frison was finally tested after 26 minutes by a Diego Milito daisy-cutter, but Palacio ballooned over and Lodi’s corner just failed to get on the head of an unmarked Peruzzi.
Mateo Kovacic came off the bench, but Catania had a fantastic scoring opportunity at the dawn of the second half. Alvarez lost the ball to spark a counter with Gonzalo Bergessio’s finish scraping a coat of paint off the middle of the far post.
Palacio’s diving header smacked against the crossbar moments later, but it wouldn’t have counted as he was offside anyway.
Sebastian Leto’s finish was not far off target and Esteban Cambiasso went off with a knee injury. An Alvarez free kick was deflected over off the defensive wall and Frison got down well to beat a Rolando header off the line.
Cristian Biraghi only scuffed his volley to let Inter off the hook on the counter-attack, as Inter dropped points yet again.