Inter Milan could only stumble to a 2-2 draw in a tight Serie A affair with struggling Sampdoria at the Luigi Ferraris.
In a game where both sides threw caution to the wind, it would be the defending champions that struck first; Federico Dimarco, deputising at the last for the injured Alessandro Bastoni, rifled a pinpoint free kick into the top corner on 18 minutes to get the Nerazzurri off to an ideal start.
They'd be pegged back just after the half hour: former Southampton centre-back Maya Yoshida swiping home from an Antonio Candreva corner, with a slice of fortune coming in the shape of a deflection off Edin Dzeko.
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Lautaro Martinez restored parity for the visitors just before the interval, volleying in a splendid ball from Nicolo Barella to cap off a wonderfully-crafted move.
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Left-back Tommaso Augello lashed in an equaliser two minutes after the restart to challenge Dimarco's free kick for goal of the game, with a Bartosz Bereszynski assist from a lovely, delicately clipped cross.
Inter would be prompted into two substitutions in double quick time: Danilo D'Ambrosio replacing Ivan Perisic, moving the dangerous Dimarco to left wing-back, and the lacklustre Marcelo Brozovic made way for the experienced Arturo Vidal as the away side chased a winner.
It was perhaps surprisingly the hosts that looked the more likely to score going into the latter exchanges.
Francesco Caputo went close with a scuffed effort after a great work down the right from former Inter winger Candreva, and Danish Euros starlet Mikel Damsgaard almost made up for his mistake in the lead-up to Inter's second goal by seeing his effort cleared off the line at the last by supersub D'Ambrosio. Morten Thorsby would flick a header over the crossbar as the hosts threatened the scoresheet, but couldn't cross the line.
Inter went close themselves through Martinez at first, who forced a decent save from home goalkeeper Emil Audero, and Calhanoglu wasn't far away with a dragged shot wide of the near post. Joaquin Correa tested Audero with a strong burst inside off the left flank, and he forced the Italian shot-stopper into a strong stop down to his right.
But ultimately, neither side could break the other down after four defensive breaches in the interim. There were chances aplenty as the second half opened the game up, but both sides will come out of this game with a single point; aggrieved that they haven't taken all three instead.
Il gol di Yoshida in Sampdoria-Inter
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - PROFLIGACY THE POTENT PROBLEM
It was a game filled with missed opportunities for both sides this afternoon.
From the first minute right up until the last, there were guilt-edged, golden chances to steal all three points, but it was as if neither team really wanted them.
Morten Thorsby was guilty of missing two headers from close range, whilst the accuracy was lacking from both Edin Dzeko and Joaquin Correa on the opposite side.
Hakan Calhanoglu didn't have the best game of his career when it came to his end product, and he could only watch on as Dimarco stole his spotlight from the set-piece with a wonderful strike.
Caputo and Fabio Quagliarella worked well up top for Samp, but both looked toothless in front of goal rather than ruthless.
It was surprising to see four goals considering how poor the rest of the finishing was, but two of those goals especially were peaches, namely Augello's equaliser on 47 minutes.
MAN OF THE MATCH - FEDERICO DIMARCO, INTER MILAN
I've alluded to it already twice in this match report, but we cannot discredit the technique it takes to score a free kick like that, not least of all in your second appearance for Inter Milan, stepping in at the last for a senior centre-back, in a position you're not too comfortable in.
Dimarco was solid defensively and clean in possession, with his position wide of the back three allowing him to drift inside and out to form passing lanes and string patterns together with the midfield trio.
He overlapped Perisic to create overloads in the left channel when he needed to, in what was a near-complete performance from the young man.
Samp-Inter, Augello esulta con i compagni dopo il gol del 2-2
Image credit: Getty Images
Sampdoria: Audero 6, Bereszynski 7, Yoshida 7, Collery 6, Augelio 7, Candreva 7, Thorsby 7, Silva 7, Damsgaard 7, Caputo 5, Quagliarella 6, Askildsen 6, Murru 6, Verre 6, Torregrossa 6.
Inter: Handanovic 6, Skriniar 6, de Vrij 6, Dimarco 9, Darmian 6, Barella 7, Brozovic 4, Calhanoglu 6, Perisic 5, Martinez 7, Dzeko 6, Vidal 6, D'Ambrosio 7, Correa 7, Dumfries 6, Sensi 6.
18': GOALLLLL!!!! WOW! It was Federico Dimarco, and he's absolutely leathered it into the top corner! What an introduction! A sensational free-kick. 1-0.
33': GOAL!!! Deflected, and deflected in! The initial Candreva corner was dealt with poorly by Inter, and after a melee, Maya Yoshida struck it, and it deflects off Edin Dzeko and rolls into the corner!
44': GOAL! Inter have the intiative back. Damsgaard was robbed by Calhanoglu, followed by a brilliant run by Barella. The Italian fed the Argentine Martinez, who volleyed into the net with aplomb.
47': GOALLLL!!!! It's an early equaliser for the Samp! Tommasso Augello has scored, and what a volley it was! A lovely cross from Candreva, and the left-back hits it so sweetly. 2-2.
74': Sampdoria come forward again... Damsgaard...!! It's off the line by D'Ambrosio!
The two goals scored by the home side were actually their first goals in the Serie A this season!
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