Inter continued their seemingly unstoppable march with a 3-1 victory at Bologna’s Stadio Dall’Ara.
Andrea Stramaccioni transformed the Nerazzurri with a three-man defence and they have seemed pretty unstoppable, here looking for an eighth consecutive away win in all competition. Bologna had managed one point from eight meetings since their last home victory against Inter back in 2002.
Both sides had injury problems to contend with. Philippe Coutinho, Wesley Sneijder, MacDonald Mariga, Joel Obi, Cristian Chivu and Dejan Stankovic didn’t make the trip. The Rossoblu missed Diego Perez, Gianluca Curci, Cesare Natali, Robert Acquafresca, Dejan Stojanovic and Henry Gimenez.
Alessandro Diamanti started as part of a new trident attack and had the first chance with his free kick whistling just wide, while Alberto Gilardino’s volley was off target when sent through by Tiberio Guarente.
Bologna were dominating the early stages, as Inter struggled to create any real scoring opportunities under the pouring rain. The Nerazzurri finally threatened on 23 minutes with Andrea Ranocchia’s header wide from a corner.
Inter waited for the right moment and broke the deadlock from a dead ball situation. A free kick was floated to the back post for Ranocchia, whose looping header went across a static Federico Agliardi and into the far corner.
Juan Jesus showed great technique and determination to close down Gabbiadini on the attack.
At the dawn of the second half Gilardino was brought down by Juan Jesus in the box, but there was no penalty because the offside flag had been – correctly – raised.
More bad news, as Diamanti was booked for dissent and he will be suspended for the midweek round against Juventus.
Inter made it 2-0 on the counter-attack after Bologna lost the ball in midfield. Palacio surged up the right and did well to roll the pass on to the foot of Diego Milito, who had all the time and space he needed to sidefoot home.
Samir Handanovic flew to parry a splendid Gilardino volley and from that corner Bologna got back into the game, as Nicolo Cherubin got in front of the goalkeeper for a glancing free header from six yards.
A huge row erupted at the touchline and the benches hurled insults at each other, leading to Bologna Coach Stefano Pioli and Inter assistant manager Beppe Baresi being sent off.
Esteban Cambiasso restored Inter’s two-goal advantage with a delightful finish, as he spotted the goalkeeper off his line and delicately chipped Agliardi from 12 yards from another Palacio assist.
The game was wide open now and a stunning Handanovic save flapped a Gyorgy Garics cross-shot off the line at the near post.
Juan Jesus was booked and will therefore be suspended for Wednesday’s game with Sampdoria. Bologna had penalty appeals for a Juan Jesus trip on Gabbiadini, but the referee waved play on.
It was nearly 4-1, but Cambiasso fired over after great work down the left from Nagatomo.