Inter scraped a point away to Fiorentina thanks to Julio Cesar, who parried Adem Ljajic’s penalty.
This was a match between two of the biggest disappointments of the campaign, as the Nerazzurri faced a fight to qualify for Europe, while the Viola were only three points clear of the relegation zone. Wesley Sneijder was available for the first time since Andrea Stramaccioni took over, but was on the bench for an audacious 4-2-3-1 formation with four strikers. Douglas Maicon also returned, though Walter Samuel and Luc Castaignos missed out. Fiorentina had to completely revamp their attack, as Amauri’s ban and injuries to Stevan Jovetic, Juan Manuel Vargas and Per Kroldrup meant only two forwards were available. Riccardo Montolivo was also carrying an injury.
Delio Rossi also had a disastrous record against Inter of one win, five draws and 18 defeats in his career. The last Fiorentina victory in this fixture was in 2006.
Houssine Kharja could’ve put the Viola in front after 70 seconds, but horribly fired well wide with only Julio Cesar to beat. At the other end Artur Boruc took the sting out of a Diego Forlan snapshot and another attempt from the Uruguayan was charged down.
Mauro Zarate went on the counter for a daisy-cutter that skimmed the base of the near post, though Boruc appeared to have it covered. Alessio Cerci also went on a mazy run to fire wide from eight yards and Ricky Alvarez did well to charge down another of his counter-attacks.
Matija Nastasic got in the way of a Forlan effort and as the move continued Lucio was jeered for a dive on the edge of the area. A row broke out between Milito and Nastasic with both booked before half-time.
Yuto Nagatomo replaced captain Javier Zanetti for the second half due to a thigh problem. Zarate fired just over the bar and Sneijder made his comeback in place of Forlan.
Cesare Natali went close when a free kick was whipped in from the left by Ljajic, but Lucio anticipated his volley at the back post.
Maicon and Milito combined with a give-and-go, but the Brazilian had his shot charged down.
The breakthrough seemed to come on 67 minutes when Andrea Lazzari burst into the box on a Kharja reverse ball to be brought down by Julio Cesar for a penalty. Delio Rossi wanted a red card, but his player was going wide, so it was not considered a clear scoring opportunity. Ljajic stepped up and saw his weak spot-kick saved by Julio Cesar, who guessed the right angle and turned it round the base of the near post.
Ljajic was removed soon after for another Fiorentina youngster, Acosty, who was booked with practically his first touch for a foul on Lucio.
Cerci was halted for an incorrect offside flag when clear on goal practically from the centre-circle. Manuel Pasqual was booked for dissent and will be suspended for Wednesday’s trip to Roma.
Fiorentina again went extremely close to a winner on 78 minutes, as a corner found Nastasic unmarked, but his looping finish was just over the bar with Julio Cesar rooted to the spot.
Inter were set to introduce Giampaolo Pazzini, but Cristian Chivu picked up an injury, so Andrea Ranocchia had to be the final substitute instead.
Boruc was at full stretch to get a hand to Zarate’s daisy-cutter, stopping it from going into the near bottom corner of the net. Cerci tumbled after contact with Ranocchia, but was only booked for simulation as they went shoulder to shoulder.
Nagatomo hit the side-netting and Milito went for goal with a turn and strike that Boruc plucked out of the air rather than rolling across for Zarate. Inter turned up the pressure and a cross was marginally too high for Sneijder’s head, although he had wandered offside anyway.
Esteban Cambiasso turned on the edge of the six-yard box from a corner to have his effort charged down, while Sneijder blasted over.
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Saved penalty: Ljajic 68 (F)