Inter 2-2 Cagliari: Astori own goal gifts Nerazzurri a point

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Posted Monday, November 19, 2012 by

The Nerazzurri failed to make the most of Juventus' goalless draw against Lazio as they were held to a draw by a determined Rossoblau side to go four points behind the leaders

Inter 2-2 Cagliari: Astori own goal gifts Nerazzurri a point

Inter looked to make the most of their home advantage when they lined up to face a determined Cagliari side looking to rekindle the form they showed during their October fixtures.

Two goals from Marco Sau looked to have been enough to rule out Rodrigo Palacio’s early opener, but an unfortunate own goal in the last tem minutes was enough to give Inter a share of the spoils.

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-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 Rodrigo Palacio, who gratefully nodded his fifth Serie A goal of the season.

As the game settled and the tempo dropped, a clever through-ball unleashed Radja Nainggolan on goal, but as he opened his body to unleash a shot, his scuffed effort rolled tamely into the arms of the Inter goalkeeper.

The Sardinians were again denied an equaliser when Handanovic managed to get a finger-tip to Astori’s goalwards flick to keep his side ahead.

The Slovenia international was again the hero just after the half-hour mark when he got behind a powerful Nene header to push the ball away from his net, a save which completed a trio of fantastic first-half stops from the former Udinese player.

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 Marco Sau, who had found space between the Inter centre-backs, to then slide the ball into the back of the net.

The opening stages of the second-half were a scrappy affair, with the persistent fouling from both sides halting fluidity in play, but Diego Milito mirrored his start to the first-half with a prodded attempt towards the opposition’s net, only to be blocked by the Brazilian, Avelar.

Shortly after, a weaving run from Palacio was brought to an abrupt end when he was hacked down by Davide Astori, but Cassano could not take advantage, firing into the wall from the resulting free-kick. When the ball was returned into the box, Milito entered himself as a candidate for miss of the season when he somehow ballooned the ball over the bar from a matter of yards.

Inter failed to make the most of their possession midway through the second-half, and Cagliari picked up on this. Their 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 which 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 to set up a dramatic end to the clash, but Inter failed to capitalise on a crumbling Cagliari side and will now turn their attention to their Europa League game against Rubin Kazan.

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