Ionut Radu howler hands AC Milan the title initiative

Bologna 2-1 Inter: Late HOWLER from reserve goalkeeper Ionut Radu hands Serie A title initiative to AC Milan, with Simone Inzaghi’s side blowing chance to go top

  • Inter miss chance to go above rivals AC Milan in Serie A title race 
  • Led 1-0 in Bologna but two goals overturn the game to give Bologna famous win
  • Milan are two points ahead of Inter going into the final month of the season
  • Milan chasing 19th Scudetto crown, while Inter are looking for their 20th 

It was only Ionut Radu’s second Serie A start for Inter Milan, brought in for the regular goalkeeper Samir Handonovic who was not risked by Simeone Inzaghi having picked up a knock.

Oh, how the former Lazio striker must regret that decision.  

Nicola Sansone’s pressure on Radu appears to have had what might prove to be the biggest say yet in the destination of this year’s Serie A title. One howler from the Inter goalkeeper appears to have handed the title, or at least the title initiative, to their greatest rivals. 

Inter travelled to the Stadio Renato Dall’Ara, in a game rescheduled from January 6 after a Covid-19 outbreak in the Bologna squad, knowing only a win would do in taking them above Milan. 

Nicola Sansone celebrates after the mistake from Radu allows Bologna to take the lead

Who would have thought then that Bologna, having taken points off both Milan and Inter this month, would have such a decisive say in the title race.  

Inter started like a team on a mission, with no intention of relinquishing their Scudetto crown to Milan anytime soon. They seemed undeterred by Bologna’s so-far unbeaten April, in which they had so dramatically held Milan at the San Siro and then drawn 1-1 with Juventus in Turin. 

Having dominated for the opening 30 minutes or so of the first half, Inter relinquished their pressure after a shock Bologna equaliser and from then on looked fragile all over the pitch. 

Ionut Radu’s mistake meant that Inter are two points off Milan at the top of Serie A

A goal from Marko Arnautovic had unsettled Inter, and although Bologna spent much of the second half camped in their own box, Nicola Sansone’s 82nd minute goal was not exactly undeserved. Inter toiled, and failed to find a way through.   

Not since the 1992-93 season had Inter and Milan been engaged in a title race between themselves. Milan won it by four points that season, and now find themselves two points clear this, with Inter having blown their game in hand. 

Before Radu’s air-kick, it had started so well for Inter.

The disappointment amongst the Inter ranks was palpable at the end

It had started so well for Inter, with Ivan Perisic’s goal giving them the greatest possible start

Inter, driven on by the goalscorer Perisic, pinned Bologna into their own half, enjoying around 60 per cent of the ball in the opening 20 minutes. 

Martinez, who was dragging Bologna’s back three of Gary Medel, Soumaoro and Arthur Theate all over the pitch with intelligent movement and direct runs, had a couple of early openings. His run of four goals in his last three games having given Inter a great hope of retaining their league crown. 

Meanwhile the midfield trio of Hakan Calhanoglu, Nico Barella and Marcelo Brozovic dominated that of Bologna’s.

Bologna’s best opportunities appeared to stem from Inter mistakes, a Federico Dimarco slip midway through the first half almost allowed Lorenzo De Silvestri an opening, but Perisic, who was everywhere during the first half, held the Bologna wing-back up. 

Perisic seemed to encapsulate the entire Inter team: dogged, determined but also highly adept and technical, with movement that troubled Bologna. 

Bologna, who were looking to avenge their 6-1 defeat in the return fixture at the San Siro, were trying to get out but a combination of missed passes and Inter’s intensity in the press did not afford them much time on the ball. 

Bologna fans and players alike revelled in the fact that they could have severely damaged Inter’s title aspirations

Inter, meanwhile, were relentless with it. Milan Skriniar burst through the Bologna midfield in one first half opening, and should have laid it off to one of his better-placed teammates. 

All of these missed opportunities were building up the feeling that Inter, for all their dominance, were missing valuable chances. Indeed, as it happened, Bologna’s first real foray into the Inter half garnered significant results.  

Jerdy Schouten fed the superb Scot Aaron Hickey. He found Musa Barrow whose cross found Arnautovic. 

The former Inter man snuck in and nodded the ball into the goal, surely sparking wild scenes amongst the Rossoneri back in Milan. 

Nicola Sansone had barely had a touch since his introduction in the second half

It was uncharacteristically poor defending from Inter, and it appeared to spark something of a collapse in their play from then on. 

Bologna, who have proved somewhat of a graveyard for sides’ at the top ambitions, be it the title or European football, were once again out to spoil the party. 

The goal unsettled Inter, whose passing fell apart somewhat. Having previously knocked the ball around well in the build up, the champions were struggling to find their passes. Denzel Dumfries found himself in on the right-hand side with a man advantage, but delayed and failed to find either the waiting Martinez or Joaquin Correa. 

Suddenly, Barella and Calhanoglu were giving the ball away more than they were finding a teammate. Brozovic’s surging runs, that have been so decisive in turning the tide of the title race since March, were curtailed by Bologna becoming more and more adventurous. 

Marco Arnautovic’s header equalised for Bologna – after Inter could have been a few goals ahead

For a team that for so much of the half looked to be feeling none of the pressure of the final few weeks of the season and a title race with their greatest rivals, the goal seemed to launch a cat amongst the pigeons. 

Arnautovic was allowed to sneak in for another headed attempt that was held by Radu. Cue the inquest amongst the Inter back three as to who let the Austrian free this time.  

Inter grew frustrated throughout and have now handed Milan the chance for their first title since 2011

Multiple attempts from Federico Dimarco were dutifully held by Skorupski, while the introductions of Edin Dzeko and Alexis Sanchez for Nico Barella and the ineffectual Joaquin Correa did not have the impact that Simeone Inzaghi would have desired. 

The game became stretched, with Inter camping in the Bologna half but that allowed the lowly Serie A side chances on the break. Barrow, who had earlier set up Arnautovic, once again found his striking partner. His pass was perfect, Arnautovic’s touch was not. 

With Inter praying for a chink in the Bologna armour, it was in fact the Nerazurri that caved in. 

It was an emotional occasion for Bologna with their manager Sinisa Mihajlovic in hospital receiving treatment for Leukemia

Inter had taken the lead from Perisic receiving a throw-in deep in the Bologna half. Here, he threw the ball back to his goalkeeper, who allowed the ball to roll across his body. 

Radu appeared to miss the ball with his left-foot, allowing Sansone in to tap the ball in and cue wild scenes in Bologna. 

In yet another twist to this magical title race, Milan once again have the initiative. Whether or not they take it is anybody’s guess. 

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