STADIO ENNIO TARDINI (Parma) – Inter were the beneficiaries as Parma tired badly on a hot Sunday night in Emilia-Romagna to allow the Nerazzurri to turn a one-goal deficit into a 2-1 lead in the last seven minutes.
With Antonio Conte watching on from the stands, the Nerazzurri struggled for three quarters of the game and had been outplayed by a Gialloblu side excellently spearheaded by Juraj Kucka in midfield and Dejan Kulusevski in front of him.
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But substitutes on both sides changed the game and Vasco Regini’s introduction at centre-back proved as fatal for the hosts as Victor Moses, Ashley Young and Alexis Sanchez’s arrivals were inspirational for Cristian Stellini.
The first chance fell Lautaro Martinez and Inter’s way, but his strike was closed down and blocked behind for a corner. Christian Eriksen then delivered onto Roberto Gagliardini’s head and the midfielder came closer than he had against Sassuolo, seeing his header cleared off the line by Kastriot Dermaku.
Vincent Laurini started lively too, having put in one of his better Parma performances in the win at Genoa and he picked out Gervinho but the Ivorian turned his first-time effort wide of the bottom corner.
Though he should have put that first one away, the No.27 was responsible for the Crociati going ahead.
Kucka, who had been excellent, played one of the passes of the season to find the winger. Mazing in from the left he looked to have taken too many touches, but he turned back into space and shot low beyond Samir Handanovic.
Kulusevski tried a similar move on the opposite side but shot wide before Andreas Cornelius had two chances to extend the lead.
His first should have been finished. Gervinho broke on the left, exposing Danilo D’Ambrosio and Antonio Candreva’s side – which had been a vulnerability for Inter – and set the Dane through but he was unable to add to his hat-trick at Genoa and sent his shot way over the crossbar.
The second was considerably more difficult, but he came close with a light left-footed touch that trickled wide of the bottom corner.
Gervinho looked to cause trouble immediately after the restart but his cutback after another good run down the left was turned away before finding Kulusevski.
Inter had a series of shots blocked inside Parma’s area and came knocking again only for Kucka to send a long ball forward to Gervinho who found Kulusevski on the right. The 20-year-old cut in but his low shot only hit the side netting.
Kulusevski stung Handanovivic’s palms with a shot that looked destined for the top corner moments later before Gevinho shot off target.
Cristiano Biraghi found Lautaro free at the near post with a good cross but, with what was a tough chance, the Argentinian glanced his header across goal and wide. Eriksen was the next to try, but he dragged his own shot wide.
Romelu Lukaku had been limited to hold-up work until he had a sight of goal in the last quarter of an hour. Attempting to curl into the bottom corner from 20 yards, though, his shot went inches wide with Luigi Sepe stranded.
Sepe did manage to move swiftly towards that same corner within a minute as he parried a powerful Alexis Sanchez strike.
The growing pressure finally broke Parma in the 84th minute. Lautaro won a header from a corner and knocked it back to Stefan de Vrij who was able to finish.
Juraj Kucka was sent off during Inter’s celebrations before former Parma defender Alessandro Bastoni arrived in the six-yard box to give the visitors the lead with just three minutes of the 90 left.