Sassuolo handed Inter their second defeat in two games after a 1-0 win at the Mapei Stadium on Saturday.
Last weekend saw Inter's unbeaten run ended by Udinese in a surprising 3-1 defeat at the San Siro. They were looking to bounce back against a Sassuolo side that have a poor record at home this season - losing seven of their eight matches at the Mapei Stadium.
The Nerazzurri went into this game knowing that a win could send them back to the top of Serie A if other results went their way, but the hosts took the lead against the run of play when Diego Falcinelli was on the end of a fine cross to head in from two yards.
Inter responded quickly in the second half as they were awarded a penalty for a handball by Sassuolo defender Acerbi. Mauro Icardi stepped up to take it, but his penalty was parried away by Andrea Consigli - it was beginning to seem like it wasn't Inter's day.
Sussuolo were stubborn enough to hold out the Nerazzurri - who were desperate to get back to winning ways after last weeks disappointing defeat. Inter, however, were limited to few clear cut chances and became more frustrated as the game went on. They were unable to find that all important goal as Sassuolo held on for the three points.
Luciano Spalletti's men sit in third place, but are now five points behind leaders Napoli who were victors over Sampdoria.
Both teams seemed to have a spring in their step in the opening minutes of the game; however the early exchanges were pretty turgid with both sides having an equal share of possession.
The hosts had set up to press Inter high up the pitch - and every time the visitors were in possession, Sassuolo chased after the ball with a great deal of intensity.
The first shot on goal came from Antonio Candreva, who was picked out by Valero who showed some neat skill to get into space and pick Candreva out, but the Italian saw his shot go straight into the arms of Consigli.
From then on the pace of the game was mundane - until none other than Mauro Icardi was through on goal after a perfectly timed run, but somehow he missed the target from just 10 yards. The flag went up to save his blushes; but VAR would’ve shown that Icardi was in fact onside.
That chance set the tempo for the rest of the half, as just five minutes later; Sassuolo took the lead out of nowhere. Matteo Politano sprinted down the right and played a perfect ball for Falcinelli who was there to head home from a couple of yards.
Sassuolo then nearly doubled their lead two minutes later when Domenico Beradi was presented with a chance from 15 yards, but his shot was dealt with calmly by Handanovic.
Inter knew they needed with a lot more vigour if they wanted to get anything out of the game, and they responded by gaining a penalty three minutes after the restart. It was some great interplay from Inter and Cancelo’s cross hit Acerbi arm in the box.
Icardi – who converted each of his previous four penalties – stepped up to take it, but it was finely parried away by Consigli, much to the despair of the Argentine foward.
The Nerazzurri couldn’t seem to buy a goal at this point, as it was all one way traffic in the second half – other than the odd counter attack by the home team.
Inter had most of possession but didn’t seem to make any of it count, as Sassuolo were stubborn in defence, limiting Inter to few clear chances.
It was in fact Sassuolo who came closest to scoring the second of the game, when Politano was on the end of an encouraging counter attack, but his powerful shot was expertly dealt with by Handanovic.
Inter kept pushing for an equaliser but were left frustrated by a Sassuolo side who find themselves five points clear from the relegation zone. Meanwhile, the Nerazzurri sit in third, now five points off of leaders Napoli who were 3- 2 winners over Sampdoria.