The Nerazzurri had two goals disallowed for offside and also saw Massimiliano Benassi pull off a string of fine saves to earn the Giallorossi three vital pointsInter blew the opportunity to move up to third place in Serie A by slumping to a shock 1-0 defeat to Lecce at the Stadio Via del Mare on Sunday afternoon.
Guillermo Giacomazzi stunned the Nerazzurri by firing home just before the break and, although the visitors dominated the second half and had two goals disallowed for offside, they were unable to find away past Massimiliano Benassi. The shot-stopper was in inspired form, and produced a string of sensational saves over the course of the 90 minutes.
Inter started sluggishly but they should have taken the lead 11 minutes in when Benassi cleared the ball straight to Diego Milito. However, the in-form Argentine was unable to convert from an admittedly acute angle.
Conceding in such a manner, though, would have been harsh on Lecce, who looked a constant threat on the counter during the opening 45 minutes. Luis Muriel came desperately close to opening the scoring midway through the first half when he blazed past Walter Samuel in pursuit of a ball in behind the Inter defence, but he was unable to slip the ball past the advancing Julio Cesar.
Juan Cuadrado then saw a powerful shot from distance drift just wide as Inter looked increasingly vulnerable.
However, the Nerazzurri gradually assumed control of the game and would have taken the lead had it not been for Benassi, who pulled off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Samuel’s header from a Wesley Sneijder. The keeper underlined his importance again later on, getting down extremely well to stop Giampaolo Pazzini’s low drive.
Inter were now well on top but they were hit with a sucker punch five minutes before the break when Massimo Oddo whipped over a cross from the right wing. Lecce captain Giacomazzi controlled with before dispatching into the bottom left corner with a terrific right-footed strike.
Inter continued to dominate both possession and territory after the restart and they thought that they had equalised when Esteban Cambiasso nodded home. The Argentine converted from close range after Samuel had seen his header from Ricardo Alvarez’s corner strike the post, but he was flagged for offside and the goal ruled out.
The exact same fate befell Milito on 72 minutes, when he tapped home after Cambiasso had deflected a header from Pazzini across the six-yard box; and Inter began to realise it was not going to be their day.
Indeed, Pazzini drew another wonderful save out of Benassi right at the death as Lecce held on to claim a victory which moves them to within three points of safety. Inter, meanwhile, remain fifth after failing to extend their winning streak in Serie A to eight games.
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