Samir Handanovic kept Inter afloat for 80 minutes, then Mauro Icardi cancelled out a Malcom goal to earn a precious point against Barcelona.
The Nerazzurri had lost 2-0 at Camp Nou, but were still comfortably second in their group after two wins over Tottenham and PSV. Radja Nainggolan returned from injury, but Leo Messi was again only in the stands after fracturing his arm. Thomas Vermaelen and Samuel Umtiti also missed out.
It took all of 90 seconds for Ousmane Dembele to sting Samir Handanovic’s gloves from distance, while Luis Suarez’s audacious flick off the outside of the boot drifted just past the far top corner.
There were a series of Barcelona chances, as first Milan Skriniar scrambled clear in front of goal, then Suarez’s angled drive flashed across the six-yard box.
Coutinho’s snapshot was beaten away at full stretch and Handanovic was again alert as a ricochet fell kindly for Suarez just inside the penalty area.
Handanovic continued his remarkable form with a miraculous save on Ivan Rakitic after a three against two situation, and when Suarez turned in on the rebound, the ball had already gone out of play.
Coutinho stung the goalkeeper’s gloves at the near post and Dembele dribbled past Kwadwo Asamoah to test Handanovic again, Suarez firing on to the side netting.
Inter had a period of pressure just after the hour mark with Matteo Politano nodding a Perisic cross just wide, but Barcelona finally broke through with substitute Malcom.
He had just come on when Coutinho shrugged off his marker and set up Malcom for a left-foot strike that squirmed under Handanovic’s arm to slide into the far bottom corner.
It was only what Barcelona deserved, but they hadn’t counted on the deadly finishing of Icardi. Substitute Lautaro Martinez’s roll across was flicked on by Matias Vecino and Icardi pounced, turning on a sixpence to fire in from close range.
Inter 1-1 Barcelona
Malcom 83 (B), Icardi 87 (I)
Inter: Handanovic; Vrsaljko, De Vrij, Skriniar, Asamoah; Vecino, Brozovic (Lautaro Martinez 85), Nainggolan (Borja Valero 63); Politano (Candreva 80), Icardi, Perisic
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Piqué, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur (Vidal 73); Dembele (Malcom 80), Suarez, Coutinho
Ref: Marciniak (POL)