Despite Mauro Icardi’s brace and a Diego Milito saved penalty, Inter couldn’t get more than a 2-2 draw with Bologna.
Walter Mazzarri’s men needed a boost after picking up two points from three rounds and throwing away a 2-0 lead to draw at Livorno. Danilo D’Ambrosio filled in for the injured Jonathan, but Mateo Kovacic was dropped again in favour of Ricky Alvarez. Bologna had lost three of the last four games, but had Panagiotis Kone and Jonathan Cristaldo back in the starting XI. They had scored just twice in the last eight matches and those were penalties.
Bologna won this fixture 1-0 last season, but it took just six minutes to confirm that wasn’t going to be repeated.
Mauro Icardi snuck up behind defenders to volley in a Yuto Nagatomo cross from the left, a splendid finish from the young Argentine.
Esteban Cambiasso hit an acrobatic scissor-kick from the edge of the box, but Icardi accidentally got himself in the way.
Samir Handanovic had to beat away a swerving long-range effort from Lazaros Christodoulopoulos that bounced right in front of him. Soon after, Andrea Mantovani’s glancing header from a set play whistled just wide of the far post.
Alvarez tested Gianluca Curci from distance, but again Handanovic had to tip a Cesare Natali header out from under the bar on a free kick.
Rodrigo Palacio’s fierce shot skimmed the far top corner, but Inter lost Juan Jesus to a bruised knee.
Bologna played with resilience and snatched an equaliser with Michele Pazienza. Gyorgy Garics got past Nagatomo and Handanovic performed a desperate reaction save on Christodoulopoulos from close range, but the ball came back out to Pazienza for a piledriver from the edge of the box that took a deflection off Cristaldo. That was Bologna’s first goal from open play since Jonathan Cristaldo’s brace in a 2-1 win at Torino on February 9.
The hosts reacted immediately and Curci needed quick reflexes to keep out Cambiasso. Hernanes fired a free kick into the wall from the edge of the box.
Icardi sprung the offside trap on a ball over the top, but at full stretch couldn’t quite get it under control. The half-time whistle was greeted by jeers from the crowd at the Stadio Meazza.
Within 25 seconds of the restart, Rene Krhin had tested Handanovic with an angled drive. Palacio came sliding in at the back post just a fraction of a second too late to make contact with a D’Ambrosio ball across the face of goal.
An excellent Christodoulopoulos cross-field pass sent Gyorgy Garics clear, but the winger blasted off target.
However, it was Icardi who doubled his tally and Inter’s goals with a stunning curler into the far top corner, in off the inside of the post from the edge of the area. It was very similar to the goal Ricky Kaka scored for Milan last week.
Bologna got back on level terms again, as the defence was caught napping on a cross into the box. Cambiasso and Rolando didn’t seem to know quite where the ball was and Panagiotis Konte was quickest to react, turning in from five yards.
Icardi’s free header was over the bar and Mazzarri threw on Diego Milito for Cambiasso, leaving them extremely top-heavy and open to the counter.
Palacio gathered with his back to goal and turned, but Mantovani’s arms were wrapped around him and he fell when trying to shoot. The referee awarded a penalty, the first Inter have received since May 2013. Milito stepped up, but it was fairly central and at a good height for the goalkeeper, as Curci stuck out a hand to parry the spot-kick.
Bologna wasted a golden opportunity to win it deep into stoppages, as they went on the counter and Robert Acquafresca had two shots parried from point-blank range by Handanovic to rescue a point.
Saved penalty: Milito 79 (I)