Two hat-tricks and eight goals marked the occasion on Wednesday night in what was a thrilling, topsy-turvy encounter
Eight goals marked the occasion as both sides pushed for a win with inspired efforts to take all three points, but in the end a share of the points was probably a fair result on the balance of play.
Extreme weather conditions have proven somewhat of an interruption to Serie A this week, with four games called off since yesterday, yet play resumed at San Siro in below freezing temperatures.
Wesley Sneijder was deemed the correct starting choice by coach Claudio Ranieri, despite having substituted the troubled Dutchman at half time during their 1-0 defeat to Lecce last weekend, a result which ended an impressive seven-game winning streak for the Nerazzurri.
With Tiago Motta completing his move to Paris Saint-Germain on transfer deadline day, the former Chelsea boss opted for a 4-3-1-2 formation with Giampaolo Pazzini and Diego Milito spearheading the attack.
Play got underway on a snowy surface as Inter pushed forward early on with Esteban Cambiasso on the left wing, who cut inside and saw a good shout for handball turned down by the referee as his venomous shot deflected off Matovani’s lingering arm.
Palermo enjoyed a period of possession and got their just rewards just after the quarter hour mark thanks to a woeful piece of set-piece defending. The home side watched Fabrizio Miccolli’s corner cut through Julio Cesar and into Andrea Mantovani, who prodded home from two yards out.
However, the Rosanero’s lead was short-lived as Ranieri’s men bounced back, continuing their positive attacking start. Maicon controlled a delightful ball from the right wing and slotted Milito in on goal, who finished coolly past Viviano just five minutes after the visitors took the lead.
Palermo emerged the better of the two teams after half time and took the lead again after an astonishing solo run from Miccoli, who showed great strength to shrug off defender Andrea Ranocchia and fire past Julio Cesar.
Inter responded the same way they did in the first half, by equalising soon after, this time from the spot. Yuto Nagatomo was manhandled by goalscorer Mantovani as he broke through into the box, and Milito made no mistake for his second of the night, slotting a powerful low strike under Viviano.
Ranieri’s face lit up on the touchline as Inter scored their second in six minutes to take the lead for the first time. Milito latched onto Cambiassio’s through-ball, dummied the ‘keeper and tapped home from close range to mark a well-earned hat-trick.
Despite this, the drama did not stop there, as Palermo kept going forward and levelled after a brilliant cross from Federico Balzaretti on the left flank, which saw Miccoli head into Julio Cesar’s goal.
In an incredible encounter of end-to-end football, Inter marked the occasion following a brilliant run from Javier Zanetti deep on the right wing, crossing for Pazzini, who side-footed onto Milito to fire into the roof of the net from eight yards out, marking his 12th goal of the season and, his fourth of the game.
But to the Nerazzurri’s demise, the visitors broke through their midfield with ease as Miccoli broke free of his marker and lashed a fabulous strike from the left side of the and into the net to mark his hat-trick.
The incessant scoring was halted there, and in the end both sides were left to reflect on an evening of poor defending but emphatic finishing. Inter, however, lose ground on the Champions League places in the table as a result.