A gallant display by the Genoa earns them a hard-fought point against the champions, who leave Liguria frustrated at their inability to break down a motivated and well-organised home side.
Inter Again missing out on the chance to usurp city rivals Milan at the top of the Serie A standings.
Inter were well short of their best in the final third and will surely welcome the upcoming return from injury of January, signing Robin Gosens to renew their waning attack.
Genoa, meanwhile, has improved markedly under Blessin but really must start turning single points into triples soon – that’s their 14th league draw of the season.
GENOA (4-2-3-1): Salvatore Sirigu;
Silvan Hefti, Nikola Maksimovic, Leo Ostigard, Johan Vasquez;
Stefano Sturaro, Milan Badelj;
Albert Gudmundsson, Filippo Melegoni, Manolo Portanova;
INTER (3-5-2): Samir Handanovic;
Danilo D’Ambrosio, Stefan de Vrij, Alessandro Bastoni;
Denzel Dumfries, Nicolo Barella, Marcelo Brozovic, Hakan Calhanoglu, Ivan Perisic;
Edin Dzeko, Alexis Sanchez.
What does it mean? Inter handed Napoli’s chances a significant boost.
With both Milan clubs failing to win, third-placed Napoli will go top should they defeat Lazio on Sunday.
Which would make their clash with the Rossoneri on March 6 even more enthralling.
Inter had won each of their last seven Serie A games against Genoa (by an aggregate score of 25-0), but the relegation candidates held their own to end that run.
Blessin has Genoa looking up.
It has been a dreadful season for Genoa, who are five points from safety. However, they are unbeaten in their five league games under Alexander Blessin. He became just the second manager in the three points for a win era to draw each of his first Serie A matches in charge (after Sinisa Mihajlovic in 2008).
The last time Genoa drew five games in a row in the top-flight was in May 1993, and though points on the board are crucial, they need a win soon if they are to reignite their bid for survival.
Inzaghi’s Martinez decision backfires.
Lautaro Martinez had never scored in 302 league minutes against Genoa before Friday.
But it seemed strange for Inzaghi to start the forward on the bench for such a crucial fixture.
Martinez replaced Alexis Sanchez in the 73rd minute and improved Inter’s attack, heading just over and having a shot blocked late on, and indeed should have been introduced earlier. That being said, he is now on an eight-match scoreless streak in Serie A, his longest such run.
So, where else do Genoa and Inter go from here?
Strangely, Genoa came away from their 24th match without a Serie A win bolstered.
And will be hopeful of ending their drought against an ailing Empoli side next week.
Meanwhile, Inter will face Milan in the Coppa Italia semi-finals on Tuesday, with the first leg an explosive affair between the two title contenders.
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