Third-placed Inter Milan threw away two points in the Serie A title race when they missed an open goal and conceded an 89th- minute equaliser in a 3-3 draw at home to mid-table Sassuolo on Wednesday.
The game hinged on an incredible miss by midfielder Roberto Gagliardini who had the chance to put Inter Milan 3-1 ahead midway through the second half when he was left four metres in front of an open goal but somehow hit the crossbar.
Instead, Domenico Berardi equalised with a penalty in the 81st minute and, although Borja Valero put Inter back ahead five minutes later, poor defending by the hosts allowed Giangiacomo Magnani to equalise in the 89th minute.
“It’s a draw that hurts us because we had several chances to wrap up the game,” said Inter coach Antonio Conte. “There are situations where you have to score and today we paid dearly for our naivety.”
Inter decided to play on the counter in the second half and it should have paid off when Lukaku’s shot was saved at point-blank range by Andrea Consigli and the ball rebounded to Gagliardini, but he missed with the goal at his mercy.
That was followed by a see-saw final 10 minutes.
Berardi levelled from the spot after Ashley Young tripped Mert Muldur, then Lukaku had an Inter goal disallowed before Valero was left unmarked at the far post to prod in Antonio Candreva‘s free kick and put the hosts back in front.
Inter’s jubilation proved premature, however, as they left Magnani unmarked at the far post to turn in Berardi’s cross with one minute left.
The result left Inter with 58 points, eight behind leaders Juventus with 11 matches to play and afterward Conte did not want to contemplate his team’s chances of winning the title.
“I don’t know. I can’t predict it,” he said. “What I want is for us to win the remaining 11 games. The mentality I want to instil in the players is to always try to get the best. Then, if there are other teams that are better than us, I take my hat off to them.”