MILAN – It ended honours even between Inter and Verona as tonight’s Serie A Week 11 encounter at the Meazza finished 2-2.
Icardi struck twice – Palacio the provider on both occasions – to reverse the deficit after Toni had broken the deadlock, but with the minutes ticking away Mandorlini pulled a Conejo out of his hat and a piece of magic by substitute Saviola enabled Nico Lopez to steal a late point.
A cold and wet San Siro witnessed the visitors take an early lead. Hallfredsson found space on the right and swung in a cross, Gomez nodded back to Toni and the veteran hitman volleyed home the opener on 10 minutes.
Inter responded to falling behind by getting down Verona’s throats. Kuzmanovic in particular was in a determined mood and he collected the ball between the lines and unleashed a powerful drive that flew not far over (15).
The Nerazzurri pushed on with 27,000 fans behind them and soon found themselves level with what was almost a carbon copy of Verona’s goal. Ranocchia won the ball on the right and hit an accurate delivery towards the far post, where Palacio unselfishly knocked down for Icardi to fire past Rafael in the 18th minute.
Verona dropped deeper and Inter upped the pace looking to complete the turnaround. Kuzmanovic very nearly did just that within minutes but his 30-yard snapshot rattled the upright.
Christodoulopoulos drilled in a dangerous cross-shot with the first-half clock running down, but Handanovic was alert to it and managed to clear the danger despite the slippery surface.
The second period was barely two minutes old when the Nerazzurri took the lead. Medel slipped a pass down the channel to Palacio, who took it on the run and drilled low across the six-yard box for Icardi to sweep home on the far side.
Two minutes later Inter were reduced to ten men when Medel was punished for handling in the box with his second booking of the night. Toni had the chance to level matters from 12 yards but Handanovic confirmed his status as penalty-stopper extraordinaire by saving a fifth straight spot-kick.
Christodoulopoulos then had two chances inside four minutes (63 and 66), the second of those shaking the bar and bouncing off the line and out to send a shiver down Nerazzurri spines.
In the 84th minute Vidic was inches away from scoring his first competitive goal in black and blue when he nodded fractionally wide from a corner.
Verona kept believing until the end though, and when Saviola burst into the box and backheeled for fellow substitute Lopez, the Uruguayan slammed home a low drive between Handanovic and the near post. A cold shower for San Siro, as if the one that had been beating down on the stadium for much of the game wasn’t enough.
Inter 2-2 Hellas Verona (HT 1-1)
Scorers: Toni 10, Icardi 18, Icardi 48, Nico Lopez 89.
Inter: 1 Handanovic; 23 Ranocchia, 15 Vidic, 5 Juan Jesus; 55 Nagatomo, 17 Kuzmanovic, 18 Medel, 10 Kovacic (44 Krhin, 64), 22 Dodò; 8 Palacio (20 Obi, 87), 9 Icardi (7 Osvaldo, 90+3).
Subs not used: 30 Carrizo, 46 Berni, 6 Andreolli, 25 Mbaye, 54 Donkor, 88 Hernanes, 97 Bonazzoli.
Coach: Walter Mazzarri. Hellas Verona: 1 Rafael; 71 Martic, 4 Marquez, 18 Moras, 33 Agostini; 23 Ionita (17 Nico Lopez, 80), 8 Obbiadi, 10 Hallfredsson (30 Campanharo 65); 20 Christodoulopoulos, 9 Toni, 21 Gomez (7 Saviola, 80).
Subs not used: 22 Benussi, 2 Rodriguez, 11 Jankovic, 16 Luna, 25 Marques, 27 Valoti, 28 Brivio, 40 Gonzalez, 99 Nené.
Coach: Andrea Mandorlini. Referee: Gianluca Rocchi (Florence).
Booked: Medel 44, 50, Martic 57, Moras 71.
Sent off: Medel 51.
Added time: 1+4 minutes.