Santiago Garcia unintentionally turned into his own net as Inter Milan secured three much needed points in order to keep up the pressure on Serie A league leader Juventus.
Inter started the brighter of the two sides at the San Siro and could’ve been ahead after just three minutes, front-man Rodrigo Palacio heading straight into the hands of Palermo’s Samir Ujkani after being picked out by captain Javier Zanetti.
The Nerazzuri showed the greater attacking intent in the opening exchanges, with Diego Milito, who hadn’t netted since the 3-1 win over Juventus last month prior to today’s encounter, firing goalbound after an inch perfect pass over the top from Walter Gargano, only to see his effort blocked by Eros Pissano.
At the other end, Dybala was causing all kind of problems to the Inter back line, but couldn’t direct his header on target after being picked out by Michel Morganella. The young Palermo striker then fell just short of Josip Ilicic’s low ball, Walter Samuel on hand to clear for Inter.
The best chance of the half came on the 30 minute mark as Milito held off the challenge of Steve Von Bergen before curling an effort wide of the far post. Esteban Cambiasso then fired a volley straight at Ujkani after Alvaro Pereira’s corner was headed clear as far as the Argentine.
Inter ended the half the stronger, with two chances falling to Milito. The front-man headed over from a Zanetti cross before a poor Palacio header fell to the feet of the Nerazzuri striker, only to see his effort deflect wide for a corner.
The home side looked to break the deadlock early into the second half and could’ve taken the lead through Philippe Coutinho after some good link up play between the youngster and Milito. Von Bergen was on hand to pressure the Brazilian, who fired high and wide.
Andrea Stramaccioni sent Freddy Guarin into the action just after the hour mark at the expense of Milito and the midfielder came close to making an instant impact, bursting down the right before firing a low cross towards Palacio, only for Ujkani to get down quickly a palm away from the Argentine.
Dybala had looked threatening for Palermo all afternoon and looked to take advantage of some sloppy defensive play from Gargano. He cut in from the right, but his left footed strike was always rising and posed no threat to Handanovic’s goal.
The deadlock was finally broken with a little over 15 minutes to go as Ranocchia fired in a low cross for Inter. Under no pressure, Palermo's Garcia inadvertently turned it past Ujkani and into his own net to make it 1-0 to the home side.
Inter was buoyed on by the goal and looked to push for a second, Coutinho testing Ujkani with a well struck effort that the Palermo goalkeeper gathers at the second attempt. Moments later, Cambiasso hit at goal, but blasted his shot well over the bar.
Palermo rarely threatened in the final quarter of an hour as Inter held on for its first win in four Serie A games to close the gap on league leader Juventus to four points.
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