Inter’s habit of dropping points against the bogey-teams of its recent past has continued. This time the Nerazzurri fumbled a 2-0 lead to draw Bologna 2-2, letting early goals from Francesco Acerbi and Lautaro Martinez go to waste after the later gave away a 17th minute penalty and gifted Bologna a route back into the match. From then on, Inter never found its top gear again, looking sluggish and tired. By the time all was said and done, despite Inter holding 63% of possession, Bologna boasted the higher expected goals (1.23 to 0.80) with the hosts’ limited to passing without a purpose. Inter can only blame itself for such a performance, though, and now it must go into the international break with the taste of a draw lingering.
Simone Inzaghi made no changes from the team that beat Benfica 1-0 midweek, while Bologna lined up in a 4-2-3-1 headlined by Roberto Orsolini and Joshua Zirkzee.
Inter began dominantly and was rewarded 11 minutes in when Acerbi headed home a Hakan Calhanoglu corner.
Francesco Acerbi reacts quickest and gets his first goal of the season pic.twitter.com/g8JqfEdyQV— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 7, 2023
The good guys would then go on to make it 2-0 in the 13th minute via a Lautaro rocket from outside the box.
10 goals in 8 league matches ⚫— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 7, 2023
Lautaro Martinez is on FIRE pic.twitter.com/3IMYs2mGRz
The afternoon’s action was far from over, however, and Bologna had a golden opportunity to get back into the game when Lautaro blatantly tugged Lewis Ferguson down in the box. It took a VAR check, but the penalty was eventually given and Roberto Orsolini made no mistake from the spot 19 minutes in.
The goal took the wind out of Inter’s sails and the remainder of the half saw little final third action at either end. Possession was in Inter’s favor at 59%, but both teams totaled 5 shots across the forty-five minutes.
Bologna began the second half firmly in control and got its equalizer in the 52nd minute through a rolling Zirkzee effort that caught Yann Sommer off guard and snuck in.
Joshua Zirkzee calmly slots it past Yann Sommer ✨— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) October 7, 2023
Bologna are back level. pic.twitter.com/FLBIQ97NME
Inzaghi tried to regain control of proceedings through subs, bringing on Sanchez, Cuadrado, and Augusto, but to no avail. Inter dominated possession but with little end result. The closest the Nerazzurri came to a third was a Sanchez flick off a corner that nicked the post in the 73rd minute. Other than that, though, Inter was devoid of ideas in attack and managed just one shot on target from nine in the second period. Bologna, meanwhile, scored on its only effort on frame and then put all of its energy into a very successful bunker.
Sommer - 5: Guessed right and got a hand to Orsolini’s spot-kick but couldn’t keep it out and then was caught completely wrong-footed on the equalizer. Not his best night by far.
Bastoni - 6: Did everything on the ball he normally does but not at the same level. Attempted 4 crosses but made just 1, had an 88% passing rate, and lost possession a team-high 16 times.
Acerbi - 7: Opened his scoring account for the season, won 6 duels, and made 3 interceptions, but the minutes are starting to add up on his legs.
Pavard - 7: Another rare bright spot. Won all 9 of his duels, made 2 clearances, 1 blocked shot, and 1 interception, and had the second-most touches on Inter (92).
Dimarco - 5.5: Little impact from Dimarco, who managed 0/8 successful crosses, an 87% passing rate, and 13 giveaways (3rd most on Inter).
Mkhitaryan - 6.5: A typically busy outing from the Armenian, who notched a 92% passing rate, 2 key passes, 2 interceptions, and 1 clearance.
Calhanoglu - 7: A solid showing from Calhanoglu, featuring an assist on the opener, the most touches on Inter (100), 3 key passes, and 5 duels won.
Barella - 5.5: Was off a step or two, managing an 88% passing accuracy, 1 key pass, and only 4 duels attempted.
Dumfries - 5: Exited early after a poor first half with a 67% passing rate, 0 key passes, 1 cross, and 15 giveaways in just 50 minutes. His replacement, Cuadrado, wasn’t much better either.
Lautaro - 7: Became the 3rd player in Inter’s history to reach double digits in the league after only 8 games but never came close to scoring again.
Thuram - 5.5: Assisted Lautaro’s goal but did nothing otherwise, with 6 duels won being his only highlight amidst only 23 touches and 0 shots.
Inzaghi - 5: The strong starting eleven seemed like a good idea, but it didn’t work. The mental weakness the team showed after conceding the penalty is also a concern, and Inzaghi’s subs sure didn’t help either. Alexis and Cuadrado were complete non-factors.
Inter will finish second going into the international break if Milan manages to beat Genoa this afternoon. There’ll be no game next weekend, but then the Nerazzurri return will a trip to Torino next Saturday and then home outings against Salzburg and Roma. Time to move on and make sure the mistakes seen today aren’t committed again.