Ivan Perisic’s maiden goal for Inter Milan in a 1-1 draw at Sampdoria sent the Nerazzurri back on top of Serie A on Sunday, as Roma continued their early season push with a convincing 4-2 win away to Palermo.
With five opening wins, Roberto Mancini’s Inter side had been the early season pacesetters – until a 4-1 humbling by Fiorentina last week sent La Viola on top thanks to superior goal difference.
In a hotly-contested encounter at the Luigi Ferraris stadium, Inter looked to be heading for their second successive defeat of the season after Luis Muriel slid in at the back post to meet Pedro Pereira’s inswinging cross and beat goalkeeper Samir Handanovic in the 51t minute.
It ended the hosts long wait for a goal after a succession of earlier misses by Eder, Muriel and Joaquin Correa, who produced an absolute howler when he somehow skewed the ball wide of an empty net only a yard from the goalline.
Those misses proved costly when Sampdoria’s defence went walkabout in the 75th minute and Perisic finished off a fine attacking move to level for the visitors.
The draw, Inter’s first of the season, saw the Nerazzurri go top of the pile with a one-point lead on Fiorentina, although Paulo Sousa’s men will go two points clear if they beat Atalanta later on Sunday.
Fellow scudetto hopefuls Roma moved up to provisional third place at two points behind Inter with a comprehensive 4-2 win away to Palermo.
Days after a humbling defeat to Champions League group opponents BATE Borisov, Roma travelled to Sicily hoping to make amends albeit without Edin Dzeko and Francesco Totti, who are both sidelined with injury for the next three weeks.
However any fears the Giallorossi would suffer another slip-up on their travels were dispelled after just two minutes when Miralem Pjanic put Roma ahead after latching on to Alessandro Florenzi’s through ball to beat Stefano Sorrentino from close range.
Florenzi doubled Roma’s lead 12 minutes later with a clinical strike after the ball fell kindly inside the area, and Gervinho confirmed his recent return to form with a superb strike on 28 minutes to put the match beyond reach.
The Ivory Coast striker, who scored his first league goal since November 2014 two weeks ago, cut in from the left side of the area, holding off defender Giancarlo Gonzalez all the way before beating Sorrentino with a superb curling effort from just inside the area.
Palermo reduced arrears twice, through Alberto Gilardino on the hour and Gonzalez on the stroke of fulltime.
But Gervinho put the result beyond all doubt with his second of the game barely a minute later to hand Roma their fourth win in seven games.
Later on Sunday, struggling champions Juventus host Bologna looking for just their second win of the campaign while AC Milan host Napoli in Sunday’s late game.