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Troubled Inter squander two-goal lead in Torino draw

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By Reuters

MILAN (Reuters) – Inter Milan, touted as one of the Serie A title favourites before the season, were left with one point from their opening two matches when they squandered a two-goal lead and were held 2-2 at home by Torino on Sunday.

Beaten 1-0 at Sassuolo last week, Inter appeared to be cruising when Ivan Perisic and Stefan de Vrij gave them a 2-0 halftime lead but Torino stunned the San Siro by bouncing back with goals by Andrea Belotti and Soualiho Meite.

The first 43 minutes of Genoa’s match at home to Empoli were played in near silence as a tribute to the 43 people killed in the collapse of a motorway bridge in the city on Aug. 14.

A stunning volley by Mirco Antenucci gave modest SPAL a 1-0 win over Parma which put them alongside Juventus and Napoli with six points from two games.

Perisic, a key player in the Croatia team which reached the World Cup final, gave Inter the perfect start by volleying home from Mauro Icardi’s cross after seven minutes.

Inter were in total control and when De Vrij, signed from Lazio in the close season, added a second in the 32nd minute with a glancing header from Matteo Politano’s free kick, it seemed to be all over.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti complained last week that his side struggled after falling behind, but this time their troubles began when they were ahead.

Ten minutes into the second half, Iago Falque sent a long ball over the Inter defence which found Belotti who controlled it superbly to pull one back.

Then, Meite collected a loose ball on the edge of the area, slipped past a defender and scored with a deflected shot which squeezed between Samir Handanovic and the near post.

Both sides could have won it and Perisic’s rising shot was brilliantly tipped away by Salvatore Sirigu in stoppage time.

“We conceded the first goal in a way that is difficult to explain, we were surprised by a long ball forward,” said Spalletti. “Clearly the reality is that the team is struggling with pressure.”

Genoa’s match against Empoli had the feeling of a game being played behind closed doors as it was played in near silence with only the shouts of the players echoing around the arena.

There was barely a whisper even when new signings Krzysztof Piatek and Christian Kouame scored in the first 20 minutes to set the Griffins on the way to a 2-1 win over their promoted rivals.

SPAL notched their second straight win thanks to an inspired Antenucci effort, the much-travelled veteran meeting Manuel Lazzari’s cross with a magnificent volley on the turn from 12 metres.

Nikola Milenkovic also scored with a spectacular volley after eight minutes against Chievo to set Fiorentina on their way to a thumping 6-1 victory. Gerson, signed on loan from AS Roma, made it 2-0 before halftime.

Marco Benassi headed in Giovanni Simeone’s cross after the restart and Federico Chiesa turned in Gerson’s pass for the fourth. Nenad Tomovic pulled one back for the Flying Donkeys, only for Benassi and Simeone to add two more in stoppage time.

Kevin-Prince Boateng converted a stoppage time penalty — controversially awarded for handball following a video assistant referee review — to give Sassuolo a 2-2 draw at Cagliari, seconds after his side had Marlon sent off for a second bookable offence.

Leonardo Pavoletti twice put the Sardinians in front while Domenico Berardi scored the other Sassuolo goal.

Udinese beat Sampdoria 1-0 with an early Rodrigo de Paul goal while promoted Frosinone drew 0-0 with Bologna.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Pritha Sarkar)