Lazio and Inter shared the spoils at the Olimpico, but also the shame, as there were two red cards and some embarrassing play-acting.
This was a Scudetto showdown last season, but the Aquile started in stuttering fashion, losing 4-1 at home to Atalanta midweek and with none of their relatively few summer signings ready to play. Stefan Radu returned in defence, with Luiz Felipe, Senad Lulic and Vedat Muriqi out, while the Nerazzurri had won both games by scoring nine goals and conceding five.
Radu’s comeback did not last long, as he pulled up clutching his hamstring after 16 minutes and had to be replaced by Bastos.
Samir Handanovic was the first to make a genuine save, reacting well at the near top corner when Luis Alberto managed to turn and get his shot away amid a crowd.
Lautaro Martinez volleyed wide, but the deadlock was broken moments later when Ivan Perisic went on a mazy run down the left, his effort was deflected and Lautaro pounced for the finish to squirm under Thomas Strakosha from 12 yards.
Things got worse for Lazio, because Adam Marusic went off injured too, allowing Mohamed Fares to make his debut just days after completing the transfer from SPAL. He was promptly booked within 90 seconds for lashing out an arm on Achraf Hakimi.
Nicolò Barella did everything right on the edge of the area to create the space, but the shot was completely off target.
There was anxiety at the half-time whistle when Bastos went down with apparent muscular issues, so the substitute had to be substituted by Marco Parolo.
Romelu Lukaku skimmed the near post within seconds of the restart and Lautaro couldn’t turn in the Barella cross, but Lazio drew level instead.
Francesco Acerbi floated a cross from the left and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic towered above Perisic to nod in from the tightest of angles.
They were again dangerous in the air, Marco Parolo’s header flashing across the face of goal from a Luis Alberto corner, then the Spaniard stung Handanovic’s gloves with a strike.
Lazio were suddenly dominating the match, a Luis Alberto effort deflected and Immobile firing over the bar, but then a moment of controversy changed everything again.
Arturo Vidal brought down Immobile from behind, bent down to apologise and the striker flapped at him with an angry hand. Vidal went down clutching his face, prompting a straight red card for a ‘reaction foul’ for Immobile and a booking for the Inter midfielder.
There was barely any football, as the match descended into arguments and bitter recrimination. So when Marcelo Brozovic’s attempt was deflected to bounce off the upright, Stefano Sensi and Patric both went to get the ball at the touchline. In doing so, Sensi shoved Patric, catching him ever so slightly in the face, and it was a repeat of the earlier incident with dramatic reaction and a red card for the Inter midfielder.
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Sent off: Immobile 69 (L), Sensi 86 (I)