Mohamed Salah struck again as Fiorentina ended their 15-year San Siro taboo despite facing Inter with nine men.
This was a challenge of two form teams, as the Nerazzurri had won three Serie A games on the bounce to climb back into top six contention, while the Viola were unbeaten in 11 competitive matches and fresh from knocking Tottenham out of the Europa League.
Roberto Mancini faced his former club without Yuto Nagatomo and Jonathan, while Mario Gomez, Mati Fernandez, Jose Maria Basanta, Ciprian Tatarusanu, Giuseppe Rossi and Federico Bernardeschi were sidelined. Borja Valero was only fit enough for a spot on the bench.
Samir Handanovic did well to palm an Alessandro Diamanti free kick out from the near bottom corner, then Khouma Babacar just failed to get the final touch to a Manuel Pasqual cross from six yards.
Fredy Guarin pulled back from the by-line and nobody was able to get the finish, while Jasmin Kurtic ballooned a volley over from Nenad Tomovic’s smart assist.
Guarin has been on fine form recently and he rattled the woodwork on 35 minutes, unleashing a sudden snapshot from outside the box that thumped the top of the far post with Norberto Neto stranded.
Babacar limped off with a hamstring problem just before half-time, making way for Mohamed Salah. That proved a decisive moment of the game, as the ex-Chelsea winger scored his third goal in as many Serie A matches.
Handanovic only parried a Pasqual cross and Salah was quickest to react on the rebound to blast under the bar. Fiorentina last won this fixture 4-0 back in May 2000, but were in front at San Siro.
Icardi had timid penalty appeals, but seemed to lose his balance between two players, while Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench and immediately tested Neto. Icardi really should’ve done better when ballooning over the bar from a Shaqiri assist on the penalty spot.
Nemanja Vidic’s glancing header on a Shaqiri free kick was well held by Neto and Josip Ilicic tested Handanovic at the near stick.
Just as Fiorentina completed their substitutions, Tomovic had to be stretchered off in a neck brace, as Rodrigo Palacio accidentally ran into the back of his head in what looked a very painful clash.
With the Viola down to 10 men, Palacio skipped round Stefan Savic to fire straight at Neto rather than pass to unmarked Icardi.
To make matters worse, Savic was also taken away on a stretcher with a knee problem and Fiorentina played the last five minutes plus a further six minutes of stoppages with just nine men.
Neto flew to fingertip a Palacio header out from under the crossbar, but the Viola held out relatively comfortably in the circumstances. The Tuscans down to nine men managed to end a run of 13 consecutive defeats here in all competition.
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