Inter lost their unbeaten record for this season with a shock 3-1 Udinese result at San Siro, as the game turned on a VAR-awarded penalty.
The Nerazzurri were unbeaten after 16 rounds, their best start to a season since winning the Scudetto in 2007-08. Joao Mario was out with tonsillitis, but Marcelo Brozovic retained his spot, pushing Borja Valero into midfield. The Friulani were revitalised with three competitive wins in a row since Massimo Oddo replaced Coach Gigi Del Neri, but Gabriele Angella and Samir were still side-lined.
Udinese had lost each of their last five meetings with Inter, home and away, but only failed to score in one of those. The run of losses stretches back to a 2-1 victory at San Siro in December 2014.
Inter President Erick Thohir was in the stands for the first time since February. Antonio Candreva flicked on an Ivan Perisic cross into the arms of Albano Bizzarri, then the Croatian hooked his leg around Silvan Widmer to volley a Mauro Icardi cross inches wide.
However, Udinese broke the deadlock when Widmer dribbled to the by-line, cut back past both Davide Santon and Borja Valero to set it up on a silver platter for Kevin Lasagna to tap in from five yards.
Inter reacted immediately, equalising within 60 seconds, as Candreva pulled back from the right and Mauro Icardi turned in a cushioned volley off the inside of his right boot. This was the Argentine’s 17th goal in 17 Serie A games, but above all his 95th in an Inter jersey, putting him in the all-time top 10.
Milan Skriniar showed great tackling skills and timing to interrupt a dangerous Antonin Barak counter-attack, while Borja Valero’s shot was deflected into the arms of Bizzarri after nutmegging Seko Fofana.
Bram Nuytinck intercepted a Perisic roll across for Icardi from four yards that was practically a goal-line clearance, then Brozovic saw his ferocious volley from 20 metres out skim the upright on a corner.
Perisic’s angled drive was beaten away at the base of the near post and Bizzarri’s gloves were stung by an on-form Candreva.
Within seconds of the restart, Lasagna should’ve completed his brace on a long Rodrigo De Paul assist, but Samir Handanovic somehow turned it over the bar from point-blank range.
Widmer’s cross was clearly charged down by Davide Santon’s fist and at first the linesman had flagged for a goal kick, but VAR confirmed the ball had not gone over the by-line, so the referee awarded a penalty. De Paul blasted it into the roof of the net to restore Udinese’s advantage.
Skriniar thought he’d equalised, but a header thumped the crossbar, while Joao Miranda had timid penalty appeals waved away. Bizzarri also parried a header from substitute Roberto Gagliardini, but Udinese extended their lead with a classic counter-attack, as nobody was closing Antonin Barak down for a tap-in at the far post on Jakub Jankto’s cross.