Inter ended a run of eight Serie A games without a win with a narrow victory over Bologna at San Siro on Sunday.
The Nerazzurri, without top scorer Mauro Icardi, led inside two minutes when Eder converted, but were pegged back by Rodrigo Palacio’s equaliser on his return to Milan.
A moment of individual brilliance from impressive 19-year-old Yann Karamoh after the break, however, was enough to secure three points and see Luciano Spalletti’s side climb to third above Lazio.
Inter were ahead within two minutes, immediately relieving some of the pressure. Marcelo Brozovic’s ball across goal was met by Eder, who guided the ball into the far corner to put his side in front.
1′ 31” – #Eder has scored a goal against Bologna after 1 minute and 31 seconds: is the fastest Inter Serie A goal since February 2007 (Adriano vs Chievo). Quick. #InterBologna
— OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) February 11, 2018
The hosts appeared in control, as if the troubles of recent weeks had been put aside. They came close to doubling their lead shortly after, but Brozovic could only head over having been picked out in the box.
Bologna came into the game as the half progressed, however, and looked to expose Inter’s underlying fragility. A header from Palacio drew a flying save from Samir Handovic with 24 minutes played, but moments later the former Inter man levelled, emphatically drilling home having burst into the box.
The visitors’ confidence was further boosted by the equaliser, and they looked to add to the frustration of an increasingly vocal San Siro crowd.
It was Inter, though, that ended the half the stronger of the sides. Ivan Perisic on the left and youngster Karamoh on the right were proving threatening, while an increasingly incensed Eder saw two penalty appeals turned down.
The home side looked to emulate their beginning to the first-half when play resumed and came within inches of doing so. Danilo D’Ambrosio, meeting a deep corner, headed against the bar from yards out before Milan Skriniar nodded the rebound over.
And their profligacy continued to plague them, as Perisic met Eder’s immaculate cross but could only flick the ball off target.
But they regained their lead, spectacularly, just after the hour mark. Karamoh, who was effervescent throughout, drove towards goal, beat two players and curled a delightful left-footed shot past the goalkeeper.
Inter’s relentless assault on the Bologna goal continued, and Karamoh could have added a second after superb work from substitute Rafinha.
They were given an extra helping hand by the away side when Ibrahima Mbaye, already on a yellow card, was given a second booking for a wild, reckless challenge on Rafinha with over 20 minutes remaining.
Inter appeared to be comfortable with an extra man, although there were some nerves when the referee called upon the use of VAR to check a penalty appeal for an alleged handball with minutes left. It was adjudged not to be worth of a spotkick, but there was still time for Palacio to test Handanovic as the home side’s uncertainty increased.
But they survived a tense period of injury time – in which Bologna’s Mesina was also shown a red card with the help of VAR – to earn a welcome victory.