Inter and AS Roma settled for a goalless draw which gave them their first point each of the Serie A season at the San Siro on Saturday in a game which avoided plunging either side into further crisis.
Although Inter halted their spiral of three defeats in three games, including an humiliating home loss to outsiders Trabzonspor in the Champions League in midweek, they rarely threatened Roma, who have also had a mediocre start to the season.
Roma, beaten at home by Cagliari in the opening match and already out of the Europa League, failed to transform their possession into goals as Inter created more chances.
Roma coach Luis Enrique said he was satisfied with his team’s progression.
“The most important thing is to have shown character with the pressure we were under, even if the result could have been better,” Enrique said. “We had most of the ball possession and it was difficult because Inter had a big game. Now we have to convert this into points, which in the end gives you confidence.”
Inter coach Gian Piero Gasperini regretted his side’s “missed opportunities.”
In Saturday’s early match, Cagliari beat promoted Novara Calcio 2-1 at home to go top with six points from two games.
Inter failed to make the most of their chances, with a diving header from Diego Milito five minutes into the second half finishing off target and a solo effort from Mauro Zarate 14 minutes later going wide.
Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder had the three points at the tip of his boot four minutes from time, only for defender Simon Kjaer to clear off the line.
Roma were hampered after goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg was struck in the face by the boot of Brazilian defender Lucio after just 16 minutes and stretchered off.
Pablo Osvaldo had two shots and Miralem Pjanic threatened Julio Cesar on several occasions.
In Sardinia, Cagliari took provisional pole thanks to goals from Brazilian Thiago Ribeiro (38) and Argentine Joaquin Larrivey (86), before Japan’s Takayuki Morimoto got one back for Novara two minutes from time.