Inter held in Sicily


Inter Milan lost ground on the leaders in Serie A by being held to a 1-1 draw at Palermo on Sunday evening. Franco Vazquez put the Rosaneri ahead in the third minute with Mateo Kovacic levelling three minutes before half-time. Nemanja Vidic was denied his first goal for Inter by an offside flag, which was raised again to deny Mauro Icardi. Palermo also had a goal disallowed, with Andrea Belotti unable to celebrate a goal which would have earned the Sicilians all three points. The hosts made a flying start to the game, thanks to a mistake by Vidic in the third minute. The former Manchester United defender did not really know where to go under pressure from the Argentinian, who managed to rob him of possession near the goal line and curl his shot beyond Samir Handanovic. Inter coach Walter Mazzarri's forlorn look was understandable, but he would have been encouraged by his side's reaction. Fredy Guarin went close with a 35-yard effort which just curled away from the target, before Kovacic levelled. The Croatian, who did not manage a single goal all last season and has now scored in consecutive games, was on the edge of the penalty area and pounced as soon as the ball fell free, sending in a low shot into the bottom right-hand corner. Inter thought they had gone in front on the stroke of half-time when they saw their first goal of the night disallowed, depriving Vidic of his first goal for the club, even though Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was in the offside position. Icardi was the next Inter player to be denied a goal by the linesman's flag with more doubts about this one. Palermo then got their second wind with Vazquez's shot deflecting off Andrea Ranocchia onto the crossbar, with the same player volleying wide at the far post a minute later. It was the hosts' turn to have a goal disallowed in the 87th minute when Italy under-21 international Belotti was adjudged to have pushed Yuto Nagatomo to make room for the shot he then tucked into the bottom left-hand corner. Osvaldo almost had the final say in stoppage time, but Stefano Sorrentino made a fantastic save to preserve Palermo a point.