Serie A leaders Inter were held to a draw at Genoa which extends their lead at the top of the table to five points.
The result was a fair reflection of a tight game of football where Inter were far from their best.
Although Genoa dominated the first half hour, they could not turn this into chances and it was the visitors who took the lead through Marko Arnautovic’s first goal for the club three minutes before the break.
He was on hand to score from close range after Nicola Barella’s volley was tipped onto the post by Josip Martinez. Simone Inzaghi’s side could not take this lead into the break though as Radu Dragusin powered a header from Albert Gudmundsson’s corner deep into injury time – a prolonged period caused by a six-minute delay due to smoke from flares obstructing the players’ vision.
The second half saw few clear chances from either side, although every Genoa set piece seemed to cause unusual panic in the Inter area. The result sees Inter stretch their lead to five points, ahead of Juventus’ match with Roma on Saturday, while Genoa remain in 13th.
TALKING POINT – GILARDINO BUILDING A STRONG SIDE AT GENOA
Things may have been different if Inter had their goal-a-game talisman in Lautaro Martinez, who missed his second straight game with an adductor injury, but Genoa come out of this game with a lot of credit. Just as when they played Juventus before Christmas, they could have come away with victory against one of the Serie A leading lights.
Their outswinging set pieces in particular troubled Inter, whether it was Albert Gudmundsson from the right flank or Aaron Martin from the left. Ruslan Malinovskyi’s second-half introduction provided them with another dead-ball specialist.
They have been, along with Juventus and Frosinone and Atalanta, one of the best teams from set pieces this season and it stands to reason if they can cause problems to the best team in the division they are likely to be difficult for any side to play.
In open play as well, the former Italy striker has his side extremely well organised and capable of running opponents into the ground – the Inter midfielders seemed visibly more exhausted than usual towards the end of the match. They probably lack a consistent goal scorer to threaten for a European place but should finish in the top half.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – JOSEP MARTINEZ (GENOA)
It was hardly an onslaught, but when called upon he made a few fine stops, including as a precursor to the Inter goal. Also, in contrast to the action at the other end, he had total control of his box dominating when the ball came into his penalty area.