The Chilean forward was sent off in controversial fashion after scoring for the Sardinians, as the sides shared the spoils in pulsating Serie A encounterInter came back from a goal down to secure a 2-2 draw with Cagliari at the Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste on Saturday.
The Sardinians struck through goals from Davide Astori and Mauricio Pinilla, while Diego Milito continued his recent fine goalscoring form to net alongside compatriot Esteban Cambiasso.
The Nerazzurri started brightly as Mauro Zarate tested Michael Agazzi in the opening minutes, but it was the Rossoblu who struck first. The home side took advantage of Inter's vulnerability from set pieces as Astori fought off the challenge of Andrea Ranocchia to strike into the top corner of the net.
However, Inter responded immediately. Following some industrious play from Dejan Stankovic, Zarate teased his way into the box to lift through a fine ball to Milito and the forward turned, and slotted home to bring the two teams level.
Both sides were encouraged by their respective coaches to attack, and this set the tone for the match. Home custodian Agazzi was again involved in the action, producing a fingertip stop to deny Cambiasso following a penetrating cross from Fredy Guarin.
Cagliari were content to attack on the counter, with Radja Nainggolan evading a host of challenges to strike from distance and trouble Luca Castellazzi, while Zarate continued to threaten for the Nerazzurri.
The first half was played in boisterous fashion, with Mauricio Pinilla entering the referee’s notebook for an off the ball altercation with Stankovic, while the Inter man also collected a yellow later in the half.
Massimo Ficcadenti’s men started the second half on the front foot, with Albin Ekdal forcing his way through the Inter defence only to be fouled by Cambiasso.
Cagliari nearly gained the lead once more as Alessandro Agostini’s cross eluded the Inter defence with Ribeiro heading against the post, providing an ominous warning to the Inter defence.
The home side increased the tempo dramatically and their efforts were finally rewarded. Daniele Conti’s whipped in cross was met by Pinilla who headed home completely unmarked. From the resulting goal, the Chilean was given his marching orders for over exuberant celebrations and the hosts had to play the remainder of the match with ten men.
The action did not stop there, as Inter again struck to level proceedings. Diego Forlan’s cross found Cambiasso who wriggled through the Cagliari defence to poke home and send the away fans into raptures.
The remaining 20 minutes were pulsating, as both sides attacked at will. Conti forced a splendid reflex stop out of Castellazzi, firing a strong header at the veteran custodian.
But Inter also threatened, as Zarate’s drive from distance was only just kept out by Agazzi.
The concluding minutes to the match saw the Nerazzurri drive forward for the winning goal but ultimately fail.
As a result, Inter are six points adrift of the last Champions League spot, while Cagliari cemented their position in mid table.