Parma have ended Andrea Stramaccioni’s unbeaten record and plunged Inter’s Champions League hopes into doubt with a 3-1 result at the Tardini.
The Nerazzurri had an unexpected surge up the standings to catch Lazio, Udinese and Napoli in joint third place, so Champions League qualification was within their grasp despite going through three different Coaches this season. Still unbeaten under Andrea Stramaccioni, they were without Walter Samuel, Javier Zanetti, Cristian Chivu and Luc Castaignos. Parma were safe after a series of positive results and this week even discussed the possibility of qualifying for Europe. Massimo Gobbi sat out a ban with the injured Sergio Floccari, MacDonald Mariga and Antonio Mirante, but Fernando Marques got a rare start in attack. Jonathan faced the club he left on loan in January.
Sneijder tried straight away, but his ambitious volley was well held by Nicola Pavarini, while Sebastian Giovinco and Jaime Valdes sent shots wide.
Inter did take the lead when Ricky Alvarez went on the counter, then Stankovic rolled across the face of goal for Sneijder – behind the ball – to smash the ball under the crossbar undisturbed at the back post.
Francesco Valiani drilled wide, as did Jonathan when pouncing on a ricochet between Maicon and Giovinco. Maicon hacked down Jonathan Biabiany and was perhaps fortunate to only receive a yellow card for the scissor-kick tackle.
Yuto Nagatomo went off at half-time after an accidental knock to the head. Parma equalised with Fernando Marques celebrating his debut Serie A goal after a season characterised by injuries. Lucio’s howler opened the door when he was robbed by Giovinco outside the box, who rolled across for Marques to prod in at the back post.
Incredibly the game was turned around completely moments later. Giovinco was again responsible, as he sprung the offside trap to run into a chasm between the centrebacks and kept his cool to smash the shot in off the underside of the bar as the goalkeeper came rushing out.
Mauro Zarate replaced Stankovic, who seemed furious at the decision and stormed off into the locker room.
Inter really should’ve equalised on 74 minutes when Giampaolo Pazzini was ready to finish off a rapid counter-attack, but the substitute completely scuffed his shot to balloon high and wide.
Sneijder hit the side-netting when cutting in from the left to shoot with his right foot, but Parma added a third with ex-Inter player Biabiany.
The French talent sprung the offside trap from a Giovinco through ball and Julio Cesar came tearing out, but Biabiany dribbled round him and deposited into an empty net. The linesman did well to keep his flag down, as Okaka was offside and not interfering with play.
Alessandro Lucarelli needed a goalline clearance to deny Diego Milito’s header in the final minutes.