Inter maintained its five point gap over fifth place in the race for the Champions League places on Sunday as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Atalanta.
Mauro Icardi made his first appearance at San Siro since early February, as his comeback in the midweek 4-0 victory away to Genoa ended six weeks of exile amid a row over the captaincy and ‘coincidental’ knee injuries. Radja Nainggolan was rested for a move to 4-3-3, with Roberto Gagliardini marking his birthday against his former club.
Matias Vecino had the ball in the net within five minutes, but he was offside on the Danilo D’Ambrosio assist. Pierluigi Gollini had to scramble back and fingertip the audacious Vecino lob from midfield out from under the bar, but after that frantic start, Atalanta began to keep more of the ball and Josip Ilicic’s shot was charged down.
Inter dominated the opening 20 minutes when Marcelo Brozovic pulled up clutching his hamstring and had to make way for Radja Nainggolan after just 23 minutes. It was the wrong move by Spalletti as Nainggolan is not the attacking midfielder he was at Roma.
Despite that Inter soon after should have went ahead when Icardi sprung the offside trap to go one-on-one with Gollini, but the dink was too weak and the goalkeeper was able to parry from point-blank range. Icardi should of scored, and that is back-to-game games now where’s Inter’s usually deadly striker has missed sitters.
Straight after the restart, Ilicic rolled a dangerous ball across the six-yard box and Gomez at full stretch was millimetres away from making contact to tap in.
Nainggolan broke through the middle on a Vecino pass only to force a tough save from Gollini, then D’Ambrosio mistimed his header on a Kwadwo Asamoah cross at the back post.
Icardi’s header on a Perisic corner was charged down by Timothy Castagne, as Inter had more energy in the final stages and pinned Atalanta back, but couldn’t break through.