Sassuolo had the best chances at San Siro and Samir Handanovic rescued a point for sluggish Inter with saves on Kevin-Prince Boateng and Jeremie Boga.
The match was played behind closed doors as punishment for repeated racist chants from their fans, but Inter took positive steps to fight the phenomenon by inviting 11,000 children from local schools to provide a crowd and launched the BUU initiative, turning the ugly chant into an acronym for Brothers Universally United.
Radja Nainggolan was only on the bench and Keita Balde Diao injured, while Sassuolo had to do without Marlon and Federico Di Francesco. The Neroverdi were something of a bogey team for Inter, having won seven of their last eight meetings.
Manuel Locatelli had the first real chance, drilling inches wide from the edge of the box. At the other end, a short corner found Matias Vecino’s header just over the bar, while Samir Handanovic palmed away a Boateng curler.
Berardi skimmed the crossbar at the end of a wonderful Sassuolo team move, with a series of give-and-go passes in the final third.
Andrea Consigli needed a desperate fingertip save to turn Matteo Politano’s rising strike over the bar from six yards, his half-volley on an Ivan Perisic cross from the left.
After the restart, Handanovic came to the rescue with a great save on Boateng’s header into the ground from point-blank range.
The tempo was much slower in the second half and Inter struggled to create any genuine opportunities, Icardi unable to get an overhit Danilo D’Ambrosio cross under control.
Stefano Sensi went off injured and Icardi stumbled at the crucial moment when he was trying to get on the end of a smart Politano assist.
Lautaro Martinez had been on for under 90 seconds when he had a great chance, his header too central to surprise Consigli. Jeremie Boga also impressed off the bench, squirming between three defenders to put in the cross that was slightly over-hit, so Boateng couldn’t make clean contact from four yards.
Handanovic was decisive again in stoppages, parrying the Boga strike at the end of a long team move right to left, then Milan Skriniar charging down the Bourabia follow-up.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk