Leaders Inter held to hard-fought 1-1 draw at Genoa



Sat, 30 Dec 2023 - 12:23 GMT


Sat, 30 Dec 2023 - 12:23 GMT

Genoa's Radu Dragusin and teammates react after the match REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

Genoa's Radu Dragusin and teammates react after the match REUTERS/Daniele Mascolo

(Reuters) - Serie A leaders Inter Milan were held to a 1-1 draw away to Genoa on Friday as Marko Arnautovic's first league goal for the club was cancelled out by a header from Radu Dragusin.


Inter are top with 45 points but the result gives second-placed Juventus, on 40, an opportunity to close the gap as they host AS Roma on Saturday. Genoa are 13th with 20.


Inter broke the deadlock after 42 minutes when Austrian Arnautovic found himself in the right place to tap home a rebound off the post following Nicolo Barella's volley.


He opened his account for the club in Serie A after being sidelined for several matches due to a hamstring injury following his loan move from Bologna in the close season.


However, Genoa equalised in first-half stoppage time when Dragusin's powerful header from a corner eluded Yann Sommer despite the goalkeeper getting both hands on the ball.


"We knew the type of game that we were going into. Genoa are in great shape, both physically and mentally, it was a hard-fought match," Inter manager Simone Inzaghi told DAZN.


"The second half probably would have been different without conceding at that moment (in first-half added time). We wanted to win, we are not happy with the point, but we must continue and remember that every match holds dangers."




The game was interrupted for about eight minutes just after the start with the release of several flares resulting in dense smoke that reduced visibility following heavy rainfall.


As the smoke cleared Genoa showed little respect for injury-hit Inter, who were missing key players like Lautaro Martinez and Federico Dimarco, and came close to scoring several times.


Having already managed to hold Juventus to a 1-1 draw earlier in the month at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa were again driven forward by an enthusiastic home crowd.


Inter started to gain momentum around the hour mark and Francesco Acerbi almost put them back in front with a header only for Josep Martinez to make a fine save.


"It was not easy to play on a heavy pitch that made it tough for both teams," Inzaghi added. "We had a huge chance with Acerbi - their goalkeeper made a great save - and we tried to limit their counter-attacks."


The match then fizzled out with few clear-cut chances and both sides appeared content to end the year with a draw.


"We must retain the solidity, the hunger and clearly try to bring more consistency," said Inzaghi. "We know that we’re not even halfway through the season. It will be a long and tough road with difficulties that we must overcome."


In Friday's other late game, Lazio recovered from a goal down to beat visiting Frosinone 3-1 courtesy of Valentin Castellanos, Gustav Isaksen and Patric in a 14-minute spell late in the match. Maurizio Sarri's side are eighth on 27 points.


Inter will start the New Year by hosting lowly Hellas Verona on Jan. 6, while Lazio visit Udinese the following day.



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