Inter are in a full-blown crisis after this shock home defeat to relegation strugglers Bologna, but it was the ideal Sinisa Mihajlovic debut.
The Nerazzurri were in dire need of a boost, as they drew with Sassuolo, lost to Torino and crashed out of the Coppa Italia midweek on penalties against Lazio. Matteo Politano was suspended with Keita Balde Diao, Borja Valero and Sime Vrsaljko injured, but Ivan Perisic returned to the starting XI for the first time since he put in a transfer request to join Arsenal, while Radja Nainggolan was also back from his fitness issues. Cedric Soares got his first start since arriving from Southampton. Bologna made their debut under new Coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, as Pippo Inzaghi was sacked following a 4-0 home defeat to Frosinone. With Filip Helander and Federico Mattiello suspended, Nicola Sansone injured, he put new buy Lyanco straight into the line-up.
Inter wore special jerseys with the names in Chinese to mark New Year on February 5.
There was almost a disaster within 50 seconds in the Bologna defence, as Andrea Poli passed it straight to Mauro Icardi, but the striker fired wide when totally unmarked from eight yards.
At the other end, Samir Handanovic got down well to beat away a Riccardo Orsolini volley from Stefan de Vrij’s poor clearance and Federico Santander’s header whistled wide, as did Perisic’s attempt for the hosts.
Handanovic again had to make a super save, clawing Santander’s strike out of the far bottom corner with one hand after a give-and-go with Roberto Soriano had torn the Inter defence apart.
The goal was in the air and it arrived when a corner found Santander’s flicked header at the near post into the near top corner, despite having De Vrij wrapped around him.
Matias Vecino could’ve equalised straight away, but ballooned over the bar undisturbed from 12 yards on a Dalbert cross.
Bologna remained dangerous, Cedric needing a decisive block on Poli, while Icardi’s poor first touch when sent clear by Perisic allowed Lukasz Skorupski to rush out and pluck the ball off his foot.
Lautaro Martinez came on after the restart and Skorupski did well to get a ferocious Nainggolan volley under control, while Lautaro’s free header whistled wide from seven yards on a flicked-on throw-in.
Icardi saw his effort deflected past the far post after another Lautaro knock-down, but Inter put in numerous crosses with poor finishing at the end of them.
Spalletti’s final throw of the dice was to throw on centre-back Andrea Ranocchia to play as a centre-forward, and it almost paid off, as on 87 minutes his volley forced a great save from Skorupski. Ultimately, the Nerazzurri just swung crosses into the box with more hope than invention and could not break Bologna down.
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