Inter Milan dropped points for only the fourth time this season as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw away to Genoa on Friday.
Marko Arnautovic headed the Serie A leaders in front late in the first half, but Radu Dragusin headed the hosts level in added time before the break and Inter could not get back in front as Genoa threatened a winner in the second half.
The result leaves Inter five points clear of Juventus who host Roma on Saturday, while Genoa remain 13th.
Both sides left absolutely everything on the pitch.
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) December 29, 2023
Inter threatened just a minute into the match as Arnautovic found the run of Henrikh Mkhitaryan to set him through on goal, but the Armenian could not get his shot on target.
Josep Martinez clawed away a Marcus Thuram header before the match was held up at the quarter-hour mark, with the number of pyrotechnics being set off leaving a thick smoke cloud over the pitch.
Play eventually resumed after an eight-minute delay and Inter quickly reasserted their dominance, with Arnautovic setting up a chance for Carlos Augusto, and then shooting wide himself after the Brazilian’s effort was blocked.
The breakthrough came in the 42nd minute as Genoa struggled to deal with a long throw into the box.
Nicolo Barella’s deflected strike was pushed on to the post by Martinez, but bounced up into the path of Arnautovic who could hardly miss with an open goal in front of him.
Genoese appeals for a push by Yann Bisseck on Kevin Strootman in the build-up fell on deaf ears.
Genoa had been decidedly second best up to that point but responded well to the setback. Caleb Ekuban saw his header saved as the first half moved into stoppage time, but they drew level in the seventh of the nine added minutes.
Albert Gudmundsson sent in an outswining corner and Dragusin got great power on his header to beat Yann Sommer low to his right.
Genoa carried that momentum into the second half as they put up a much better fight and Inter grew increasingly frustrated.
Genoa were screaming for a penalty early in the second half when Johan Vasquez’s header was blocked by Bisseck, but the defender’s arms were by his side and the officials showed no interest.
Inter’s best chance of a winner came in the 67th minute when Mkhitaryan chipped a free-kick into the box and Francesco Acerbi got his head to the ball, but Martinez got down smartly to save.
At the other end, Vasquez forced a save from Sommer who then spilled the ball, offering hope to Dragusin who was harshly booked for colliding with the goalkeeper as he challenged for the loose ball.
Dragusin had a late chance to win it but headed wide as Inter were forced to settle for a point.