Inter Milan was unable to pick up ground on Juventus Sunday, being held to a 2-2 draw by Cagliari at the San Siro and salvaging a point on Davide Astori's late own goal.
Two goals from Cagliari's Marco Sau looked to have been enough to rule out Rodrigo Palacio’s early opener, but Astori's own goal in 82nd minute meant Inter returned to a four-point defecit behind Juve atop the Serie A table.
Inter started brightly, and it was Diego Milito responsible for the first effort of the game. Just seconds after kick-off, his long-range shot was deflected for a corner, which almost resulted in the opening goal. Michael Aggazzi sprawled to the floor in an attempt to claw away the whipped delivery, the ball falling to Milito who shot narrowly over the bar.
A flurry of corners followed, this time to the visitors, and Albin Ekdal was quickest to a react to a second ball only for him skew his lengthy shot wide. Cagliari’s top-scorer Nene also tried his luck at Samir Handanovic’s goal with a speculative volley from an acute angle, but the 28-year-old was equal to the effort, pulling off an instinctive one-handed save.
Inter responded positively and showed their attacking efficiency by taking the lead as the game entered the 10th minute. A delicious delivery from Antonio Cassano was met by the head of Palacio, who nodded home his fifth Serie A goal of the season.
The visitors were unfortunate to lose Nene to a badly cut head towards the end of the first half, with Mauricio Pinilla replacing the 29-year old, but they would not allow that to act as a deterrent to their ambition of levelling the match. In fact, it was the complete opposite, as a delightful diagonal cross from Andrea Cossu picked out Sau, who had found space between the Inter center backs to slide the ball into the back of the net.
Inter failed to make the most of its possession advantage midway through the second half, and Cagliari made the hosts pay for their wastefulness. Cagliari's commitment to using the counter attack to puncture the hosts eventually paid off, when Cossu again delivered an early cross deep into Handanovic’s area, Pinilla was there to rattle the post with an acrobatic volley that ultimately fell to Sau, who kept his composure to knock the ball into the net for his second of the game.
A low cross from substitute Ricardo Alvarez was turned into his own net by Astori, though, to set up a dramatic end to the clash, but Inter failed to capitalize on a crumbling Cagliari side and will now turn their attention to this week's Europa League game against Rubin Kazan.