Argentine forward strikes to complete comeback and help under-fire coach, but the Nerazzurri continue to struggle for form
Strikes from Diego Forlan and Diego Milito help overturn a miserable first-half showing from the home side, where efforts from Alejandro Gomez and Mariano Izco had given the visitors a clear advantage.
Nerazzurri coach Ranieri went into the match under scrutiny, with his side having lost seven of their last eight matches, and decided to drop Dutch playmaker Wesley Sneijder to the bench.
The opening minutes were dominated by the hosts, with Forlan looking in ominous mood as the Uruguayan had four goalscoring opportunities, but couldn't make the breakthrough.
The visitors grew in confidence as the half began to open up, and this was demonstrated in the 19th minute as they opened the scoring with their first chance. Francesco Lodi’s fine move led to Alejandro Gomez dummying Yuri Nagatomo to coolly slot home past custodian Julio Cesar.
The visitors looked the more likely to score again as Barrientos failed to apply the finishing touch to a Sergio Almiron pass.
But a minute later Catania doubled their lead, albeit controversially. Giovanni Marchese escaped the linesman’s attention, rolling through a cross for Mariano Izco to tap in, enraging the home fans in the process.
The decision to leave playmaker Sneijder on the substitutes bench seemed a controversial one as the home side lacked any real flair, with Angelo Palombo and Esteban Cambiasso working hard but unable to make the necessary impact in the final third.
The second half saw the introduction of the Dutchman, but he failed to make any initial impact while Cambiasso and Palombo were both replaced in favour of youngsters Andrea Poli and Joel Obi.
Eventually, Inter got back into the game in the 70th minute as Forlan’s left-footed strike bamboozled visiting keeper Juan Pablo Carrizo, flying in off his wrist to give the Nerazzurri hope.
Sensing the home side increasing their tempo, Catania coach Vincenzo Montella substituted Barrientos in favour of the more defensive Felipe Seymour in an attempt to see out the match.
But the home side’s growing dominance was rewarded with 10 minutes remaining, as the previously anonymous Milito hit a wonderful rasping drive into the top corner of the net after collecting Forlan's pass, leaving Carrizo helpless.
The final few minutes were end to end, with both sides looking for the goal which would clinch the victory. Pazzini had a fine chance to complete the turnaround but failed to end his goal drought, and the match ended level.
The result leaves Inter in seventh with Catania sitting comfortably in mid-table as under-fire Ranieri’s troubles continue to grow.