Romelu Lukaku scored twice, including a stoppage-time penalty, allowing Inter to overturn Bologna for a 2-1 victory at the Dall’Ara.
Valentino Lazaro got his first start in a Nerazzurri jersey after his €22.5m transfer, having previously been given only two substitute appearances, but Kwadwo Asamoah, Alexis Sanchez and Danilo D’Ambrosio were injured, with Stefano Sensi back only for a spot on the bench. Bologna had one win in their last six games, as Mattia Destro, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mitchell Dijks were still out of action, but Rodrigo Palacio faced his former club.
Inter’s last defeat at the Stadio Dall’Ara was in February 2002, emerging with 11 Serie A wins and three draws.
It was a very aggressive start from the hosts, Samir Handanovic getting down to palm a Nicola Sansone daisy-cutter out for a corner, but Lukasz Skorupski needed an even better one-handed save on Lautaro Martinez, set up by Lazaro.
Skorupski’s pass was straight to Lautaro Martinez, but Mattia Bani did just enough to deflect the Romelu Lukaku finish wide. The goalkeeper got down well at the base of the near post to parry another Lukaku effort and Lautaro had the ball in the net after a sensational first touch to control the long pass and go round the goalkeeper, but he was marginally offside.
Inter thought they’d scored again soon after with Lukaku, but Lazaro had already pulled the ball out of play at the by-line before making the assist.
Valentino Lazaro attempted a ruleta on the edge of the box and went down under a risky Bani challenge straight after the restart, but the referee waved play on.
Bologna took the lead relatively against the run of play. It was a well-worked team move passing along the final third from right to left, but Roberto Soriano’s snapshot took a decisive deflection off Stefan de Vrij’s ankle to wrong-foot Handanovic into the far bottom corner.
Inter had the chance to equalise immediately, but Lukaku couldn’t make decent contact with Lazaro’s ball flashed across the six yard box.
The Belgian did eventually get on the scoresheet from point-blank range. Skorupski had again managed an astonishing save on Skriniar from five yards on a corner, but could do nothing when Lukaku tapped in the rebound.
It was still wide open, as Bani fired over from close range and Lukaku stung Skorupski’s gloves, but in stoppages there was another twist in the tale.
Orsolini clumsily didn’t pull out of the challenge in time on Lautaro Martinez and the Argentine went down for a penalty. It was very similar to the one Cristiano Ronaldo earned in stoppages for Juventus against Genoa in the midweek round, which again sparked controversy.
Lukaku kept his cool to send Skorupski the wrong way and give Inter the victory from the spot. There were tense scenes at the final whistle, as Bologna were furious.
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