Inter Milan we re held to a 1-1 draw by relegation-battling Lecce in Serie A on Sunday, as Antonio Conte’s side dropped points for the second weekend in a row.
Inter substitute Alessandro Bastoni headed in a second-half opener four minutes after coming on, but Lecce soon drew level through captain Marco Mancosu.
Marcelo Brozovic hit the post for Inter in the first half but Lecce, who went into the game on a four-match losing run and without a home win all season, went close to grabbing a late victory when Filippo Falco’s free kick struck the woodwork.
Inter, who were held to a 1-1 draw by Atalanta last Saturday, are second and one point behind leaders Juventus, although they will be cut four points adrift if the champions beat Parma later on Sunday.
Lecce remain in 17th place on 16 points, one above the relegation zone.
“We are a team who have to go at 100 kilometres per hour,” Conte told Sky Sport Italia.
“If someone is below par, or off the pace, we cannot afford that and will end up drawing a game we comfortably should have brought home.
“If we hold an average pace, we cannot get victories. We had to go at full pelt throughout the first half of the season. Once we don’t do that, we become a perfectly normal team.”
Lecce squandered a good early chance when the unmarked Mancosu blasted over with just the goalkeeper to beat, before Brozovic went close for Inter with a shot that came back off the post.
The Video Assistant
Referee (VAR) saved Inter on the brink of halftime when a penaalty was
awarded to Lecce for handball, only for the decision to be overturned following a review on the pitchside monitor.
Conte made his first change in the 68th minute by bringing on centre back Bastoni and within four minutes the move had changed the game, as the defender rose to power in a header from a Cristiano Biraghi cross.
However, Inter’s lead lasted just five minutes before Mancosu tucked in a Zan Majer cross from close range, and Falco nearly turned the game on its head when his looping free kick clipped the outside of the post.
Elsewhere, substitute Mario Balotelli was sent off eight minutes after coming on as a substitute as his Brescia side held Cagliari to a 2-2 draw.
Brescia striker Ernesto
Torregrossa and Cagliari forward Joao Pedro scored two apiece, before Balotelli
picked up two
bookings late on for a clumsy challenge followed by dissent.
Fabio Borini came off the bench to score a debut goal and rescue a point for Hellas Verona as they earned a 1-1 draw at Bologna.
Mattia Bani put the home side in front in the first half before being sent off for a second booking after the break, and Borini headed in an 81st-minute leveller less than a week after joining from AC Milan.