Domenico Berardi converted a last-gasp penalty for Sassuolo to shock leaders Inter at San Siro after an astonishing match.
The Nerazzurri knew a win would make them Winter Champions and for the first time fielded an unchanged line-up from the side that beat Empoli 1-0 on Wednesday. Felipe Melo and Lorenzo Pellegrini were suspended, while Felipe Melo had flu.
Mauro Icardi wasted an early golden opportunity when out-sprinting the centre-backs on a long Gary Medel ball, but he fired wide when clear on goal. Moments later Adem Ljajic did the same at the far post from nine yards, as the San Siro crowd looked on incredulous at the usually clinical Inter.
Sassuolo settled and tested Samir Handanovic with a curling Nicola Sansone free kick towards the near top corner, but Ljajic turned a free header over from seven yards.
Handanovic needed an extraordinary reaction save from point-blank range as Simone Missiroli slid on to an Alfred Duncan cross and then flapped a Sansone free kick away.
Domenico Berardi turned another free kick inches wide, but just before half-time Andrea Consigli was finally tested, flying for a magnificent fingertip save on Ljajic’s curler.
It was a more even second half with Inter stepping up the tempo, Consigli denying Ljajic again and Handanovic gloves stung by Falcinelli at the near post.
Consigli was at full stretch on a Geoffrey Kondogbia daisy-cutter and Ljajic turned yet another excellent opportunity off target.
Rodrigo Palacio thought he had scored with 10 minutes to go on a classic counter, but Federico Peluso flung himself at it for a decisive goal-line clearance.
At the other end, Handanovic was again crucial with a one-handed save on Antonio Floro Flores’ volley from a Berardi free kick, the striker’s first real touch.
This absolutely thrilling encounter inexplicably remained goalless, as Consigli flew to palm a Ljajic scorcher out from under the bar and did the same on a curler from substitute Stevan Jovetic.
Just as it seemed doomed to end goalless, Miranda clumsily wrestled Gregoire Defrel to the ground for a penalty deep into stoppages. Berardi stepped up and beat spot-kick specialist Handanovic to give Sassuolo a shock victory at San Siro.
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