Inter reclaimed fifth spot, but dropped two precious points in a 1-1 draw at home to AC Chievo Verona, as UC Sampdoria continued their resurgence with a 3-0 rout of nine-man Udinese in Italy’s Serie A action on Monday.
Inter, looking for only their second win in seven games, were stunned after just eight minutes when Alberto Paloschi was left unmarked in the area to beat Samir Handanovic with a dipping shot.
However, Walter Mazzarri’s men were soon back on level terms, with midfielder Yuto Nagatomo leaving Chievo’s static defense behind to meet Ricardo Alvarez’s pass across the face of goal and beat Christian Puggioni in the Chievo net on 12 minutes.
Nagatomo had the ball in the net for the second time less than a minute later after first-timing Jonathan’s drive past Puggioni, but Rodrigo Palacio strayed offside to the right of goal.
Inter dominated the remainder of the encounter, but, despite a second-half substitute appearance from Argentine striker Diego Milito, the Nerazzurri failed to break down a stubborn Chievo defense.
Inter’s eighth draw moved them up one place to fifth in the tables at the expense of Chievo to sit 20 points adrift of leaders Juventus and 10 behind SSC Napoli in the third and final Champions League qualifying spot.
The disappointing result saw Inter jeered off the San Siro pitch by their own fans.
Earlier on Monday, Sampdoria continued their promising run under new manager Sinisa Mihajlovic to advance two places up to 12th.
Brazilian striker Eder struck twice for the hosts, opening the scoring from the spot in the 16th minute after he had been felled by Udinese goalkeeper Ivan Kelava’s sliding tackle.
Eder was a thorn in Udinese’s side all night and when Brazilian midfielder Allan was cautioned for a second time for fouling his compatriot he saw red on 35 minutes.
Eder doubled Sampdoria’s lead two minutes after the restart, although replays suggested he was marginally offside after scoring from Manolo Gabbiadini’s back-heel flick.
Sampdoria found themselves reduced to 10 men when Roberto Soriano picked up a second caution for a foul on Maurizio Domizzi, but the hosts regained numerical superiority shortly after when Gabriel Silva was given his marching orders on 69 minutes for jumping with his elbow up on Lorenzo De Silvestri.
Eder came close to a hat-trick when a superb curling effort sailed just over.
When Sampdoria’s third goal came, it was from the most unexpected source: Daniele Gastaldello, who claimed his first goal in more than a year with a glancing header from a free-kick that beat Kelava at his far top corner.