Two injury time goals from substitute Giampaolo Pazzini ensured Inter's title hopes are still alive as a brave Cesena were unlucky in defeat
Inter defeated Cesena 2-1 at the Dino Manuzzi thanks to Giampaolo Pazzini, who scored two headers in injury time, keeping Leonardo's side in the title race.
Igor Budan opened the scoring near the hour mark for the hosts but the Italian's late brace puts Inter five points behind league leaders AC Milan.
Luca Castellazzi came in to replace the suspended Julio Cesar in goal and was forced into action early on after five minutes as Emanuele Giaccherini broke the through the Inter defence but Castellazzi did well to deny the striker scoring a goal with a routine save.
Inter turned up the heat as the half hour mark neared with Maicon and Yuto Nagatomo’s wing play pushing the team forward, though Leonardo's men still struggled to produce a shot on goal.
With a minute left on the clock in the first half, Lucio hit a looping shot towards goal from the half line but Francesco Antonioni handled it comfortably. Inter had a disappointing first 45 minutes as both sides went in at the break goalless.
Late winner | Pazzini's brace keeps Inter in the title race
The second half began in the same mould as the first with both teams attacking but lacking that extra fire power needed to break the dead lock.
However in the 55th minute the first goal was finally scored as a lapse in concentration from the Inter defence led Luca Ceccarelli to cross the ball into the box finding an unmarked Igor Budan who coolly tapped in the ball to score his first goal for the club.
Goran Pandev was forced to leave the pitch following what appeared to be an ankle injury and the Macedonian was duly replaced by Pazzini just before the hour mark.
McDonald Mariga was also introduced to the fold by taking the place of Thiago Motta who also looked uncomfortable.
The Nerazzurri were much better late in the second half as they were constantly a threat and headers from Lucio and Pazzini were very close to finding the net.
Massimo Ficcadenti decided to make a tactical change with 15 minutes left as he took off Giaccherini and replaced him with defender Yohan Benalouane. Giaccherini was furious with being taken off following his impressive performance.
The substitution of Pazzini changed the course of game as Cesena were finding it hard to deal with him. However with five minutes of injury time on the clock Pazzini finally scored as he connected to a Samuel Eto’o cross and slotted the ball past Antonioni.
A draw seemed to be a good result but the comeback wasn’t over when Maicon fired in a cross and again Pazzini was there to rise above the defence and head home the winner.
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