Inter fell to their second consecutive defeat at relegation candidates Sassuolo, as Andrea Consigli saved a Mauro Icardi penalty.
The Nerazzurri lost their first match of the season last week and the 3-1 reverse to Udinese saw them slide from first to third place. On the other hand, Sassuolo were revitalised under new Coach Beppe Iachini, winning two Serie A games on the trot. With Matias Vecino suspended, Roberto Gagliardini and Borja Valero took the midfield reins, leaving Marcelo Brozovic behind hitman Mauro Icardi. The big change saw Joao Cancelo get his first start, moving Danilo D’Ambrosio over to left-back. The hosts had Stefano Sensi, Davide Biondini and Timo Letschert sidelined.
These sides had met at the Mapei Stadium four times with two wins apiece, but Inter famously won 7-0 here in September 2013.
Luciano Spalletti’s men had plenty of possession early doors, but Antonio Candreva’s shot and Ivan Perisic header failed to trouble Andrea Consigli.
Sassuolo should’ve done better on the counter when Matteo Politano pulling back, but Domenico Berardi lost his footing and scuffed it off target.
Mauro Icardi scored 17 goals in 17 Serie A games, but he missed a rare sitter when drilling wide from 10 yards and moments later Consigli palmed a Perisic header away at the back stick.
Surprisingly, Sassuolo took the lead somewhat against the run of play. Politano deserved all the credit, because he gathered inside his own half and ran the entire length of the right flank to float a perfect cross that Diego Falcinelli just had to nod in from a couple of yards. However, the striker’s diving header saw him clatter shoulder-first into the upright and he required several minutes of treatment.
Berardi had another chance, parried by Samir Handanovic from close range, but Icardi thought he had scored with a lob that Francesco Acerbi desperately cleared off the line.
Spalletti hauled off Marcelo Brozovic, who had been foolishly booked, to introduce Eder for the second half. They poured forward in waves and forced a penalty when Joao Cancelo’s cross was charged down by a raised Acerbi elbow. Icardi stepped up, but confirmed it wasn’t a good day for him, as Consigli got down very quickly to push the penalty off the line.
Berardi had penalty appeals waved away for a nudge in the back from Cancelo and Coach Iachini was sent off for taking his protests too far.
Candreva stung Consigli’s gloves, but Falcinelli failed to make the most of a strong Antonino Ragusa run. It was wide open, Edoardo Goldaniga practically clearing a Perisic header off the line and Politano forcing a tricky save from Handanovic after shaking off Dalbert.
Saved penalty: Icardi 49 (I)