Federico Santander on Sunday scored the winner as struggling Bologna stunned Inter 1-0 to pile the pressure on coach Luciano Spalletti as AS Roma rescued a point with a 1-1 draw with AC Milan in Serie A.
Santander’s header gave new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic the perfect start as his relegation-threatened side earned their first win in more than four months, but Spalletti’s Inter were booed off the pitch at the San Siro after their third-place cushion was cut to four points on city rivals AC Milan, who occupy the final UEFA Champions League berth, with Roma a point further back in fifth.
Paraguayan forward Santander broke through after 33 minutes with his header enough to seal just a third win this season and the first since Sept. 30 last year.
Inter are still searching for their first win of the calendar year, being held to a goalless draw by US Sassuolo and losing 1-0 to Torino in Serie A before exiting the Coppa Italia on penalties to SS Lazio at the San Siro last week.
“Unfortunately, when we have to fight or to cope with difficulties we lack something, that bit of dash that can make you make a difference,” Spalletti said. “In any case, I repeat, I don’t feel under scrutiny. The team is still behind me, I’m convinced.”
The damage could have been worse, but for a solid performance from goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, with captain Mauro Icardi proving wasteful, extending his goal drought in Serie A to six games.
Bologna goalkeeper Lukasz Skorupski denied Andrea Ranocchia a late equalizer as the northern side reignited their push for top-flight survival.
“I couldn’t have dreamed of a better start,” Mihajlovic said. “This proves that if you are brave you can do anything — you can beat Inter at the San Siro.”
At the Stadio Olimpico, Roma eased the pressure on their coach Eusebio di Francesco, who was still stunned by a 7-1 Coppa Italia whipping by ACF Fiorentina.
AC Milan’s Lucas Paqueta combined to set up fellow new boy Krzysztof Piatek to tap in after 26 minutes for his third goal in two outings, but Roma piled on the pressure with AC Milan saved by goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma’s heroics, denying Patrik Schick and Edin Dzeko before the break.
Just after the interval Nicolo Zaniolo equalized for the hosts, who were boosted by the return of veteran midfielder Daniele de Rossi.
Donnarumma again came to the rescue to frustrate Dzeko, while a searing Lorenzo Pellegrini header rattled the post, with Roma goalkeeper Robin Olsen denying Diego Laxalt late on.
“It’s a pity we need a slap in the face before waking up,” Di Francesco said. “This was a positive response to Florence, but could never wipe out that game, even if we had won. The lads showed character and I hope it is yet another starting point.”
“Roma probably deserved a little more, but I really liked our second-half performance,” Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso said.
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