Inter Milan fight back to Lazio draw


Felipe Anderson and Mateo Kovacic exchanged goals of real quality as Inter Milan fought back to rescue a 2-2 draw with Lazio at San Siro on Sunday night. Inter boss Roberto Mancini glowered from the touchline after watching Felipe Anderson score his first brace in Serie A – the Lazio midfielder's second goal arrived at the end of a wonderful run – but the hosts' luck would change. Kovacic halved the deficit with a stunning volley, charging the Inter team with confidence and putting Rodrigo Palacio in a position to score his first goal of the season, a goal that spared his side from defeat. The point was enough to lift Lazio into third place heading into the winter break while Inter remain in 11th. The first half belonged to Felipe Anderson and the former Santos man wasted no time announcing himself to an expectant crowd. Two minutes into the game the Brazilian controlled Stefan Radu's cross before burning past Andrea Ranocchia and rifling a powerful left-footed drive past Samir Handanovic. Lazio might have doubled their lead moments later but Felipe Anderson volleyed Juan Jesus' clearance over the crossbar. The hosts carved out a couple of chances either side of the half-hour mark. First, Yuto Nagatomo saw his attempt deflect off Stefan de Vrij and veer wide, then Federico Marchetti got gloves to Fredy Guarin's ambitious effort. In the 37th minute Felipe Anderson grabbed Lazio's second goal in sensational fashion. Having picked the ball up in the middle of the park he danced into the box from the left wing, sending Inter's defenders spinning before slotting a smooth finish beyond Handanovic. As the second half began Mancini confined himself to his dugout where he wore a notably sour expression. His mood blackened when Guarin blasted high over the bar from distance, a wasted opportunity that elicited whistles from the home fans. The team needed a spark and Zdravko Kuzmanovic provided one just before the hour as he swept up Mauro Icardi's pass before forcing Marchetti into a desperate fingertip save. That move inspired Palacio to feed Danilo D'Ambrosio but the former Torino full-back saw his shot to the far post gathered by Marchetti. It was becoming clear that Inter were about to make something happen and Kovacic affirmed that theory in style. When the ball was flicked out of the box by the Lazio defence, Inter's Croatian playmaker stepped forward and, with perfect coordination, volleyed a lightning-bolt strike past the helpless Marchetti. All of sudden the Nerazzurri had their tails up and with 10 minutes remaining Palacio notched the equaliser. The Argentinian's first Inter goal in 225 days, while making a dramatic impact, was a straightforward one as he stubbed home D'Ambrosio's header across the six-yard box following a Federico Bonazzoli free-kick. So confident were Inter entering the final exchanges that they might have turned the game on its head by scoring a third goal, but Marchetti pulled off a stunning save to keep out Kovacic and his bullet header.