Inter fought back from a shock early Lecce goal to get their fourth consecutive victory, although they hit the woodwork four times, and go up to fifth place.
Inter had Diego Forlan back in the starting XI with Giampaolo Pazzini after his long-term muscular injury, though Wesley Sneijder Cristian Chivu, Jonathan and Emiliano Viviano were still out of action. Lecce picked up their first point under Serse Cosmi with an epic 3-3 draw at Parma on Sunday, but had Moris Carrozzieri suspended, while Edward Ofere, Manuel Giandonato, Andrea Bertolacci, Djamel Mesbah and Andrea Esposito were injured. More importantly, both first choice goalkeepers Julio Sergio and Francesco Benassi were unavailable, so third-choice Ugo Gabrieli had his first Serie A start.
Thiago Motta’s glancing header from a corner whistled wide, but it was Lecce who incredibly went in front with a Luis Muriel solo effort. He sprung the offside trap, cut back past Lucio and Douglas Maicon to beat Julio Cesar at the near post!
Inter tried to fight back straight away, but debutant Gabrieli did brilliantly to palm a Forlan strike on to the upright.
The Nerazzurri were denied by the woodwork again, as Pazzini’s looping header cracked against the bar from a Maicon cross.
Javier Zanetti’s snapshot whistled over the bar, but they hit the frame of the goal for a third time on 30 minutes with a glancing Walter Samuel header from a free kick thumping the post.
It was an astounding match, as Forlan made it four on the woodwork with his deflected header on to the upright!
It was fifth time lucky, as Pazzini flicked in the corner kick at the near post from Maicon’s cross and dedicated the goal to his son Tommaso, who was born just hours before the game.
Pazzini should’ve added another on the stroke of half-time, but horribly missed the target with a header wide from Yuto Nagatomo’s cross.
Claudio Ranieri tinkered with his side during the break, introducing Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso. They proved inspired substitutions, as Milito gave Inter the lead with one of his first touches. Ricky Alvarez deserves much of the credit, as he dispossessed Stefano Ferrario and immediately threaded through the middle for El Principe to sweep past an on-rushing Gabrieli.
Pazzini fired over on the counter, but Lecce threatened to equalise on 63 minutes with a trademark counter-attack sparked by Cuadrado, as Julio Cesar needed a reaction save with his legs to keep out Daniele Corvia from just inside the area.
Alvarez’s left-foot angled drive flashed across the face of goal to scrape the back post, but Lecce were becoming more dangerous on the break. Cuadrado rolled across for Corvia, whose first touch let him down and consequently he ballooned over with only Julio Cesar to beat.
Inter did give themselves more of a cushion, as Nagatomo skipped past Cuadrado at the by-line and rolled it back for Cambiasso to come sliding in from six yards.
Lecce would not give in, though, as David Di Michele tested Julio Cesar’s reflexes. However, the Nerazzurri put the result beyond doubt with Nagatomo’s assist for an Alvarez volley.
Guillermo Giacomazzi was lucky to escape without a red card when he blocked Maicon with an elbow under the chin, but it was the Brazilian who had to be held back from reacting furiously.
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