(Reuters) – Inter Milan’s poor run against Sassuolo continued on Saturday as they were held to a 0-0 home draw in Serie A in front of a crowd of school children.
The visitors went into the game with a remarkable record against Inter, having won seven of their last eight meetings, and again frustrated Luciano Spalletti’s side in an unusual atmosphere at San Siro.
Inter were forced to play behind closed doors for a second consecutive game as punishment for the racist abuse aimed at Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly by some fans during a fixture on Boxing Day, but Serie A allowed around 11,000 local school children to attend the game.
Additionally, both teams wore “BUU” badges on their sleeves as part of Inter’s new anti-racism campaign, which aims to transform what is regarded as a racist noise in Italy into an acronym for “Brothers Universally United”.
Sassuolo started stronger, with Manuel Locatelli shooting wide from distance and Kevin-Prince Boateng forcing a save from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.
Yet the hosts grew into the game and created the best chance of the first half when former Sassuolo winger Matteo Politano’s close-range finish was tipped over by Andrea Consigli.
Boateng again called Handanovic into action with a powerful header 10 minutes after the break and the away team almost snatched a win at the death when Jeremie Boga’s shot was saved before Mehdi Bourabia had his follow-up effort blocked.
Inter remain in third place on 40 points, four behind Napoli, while Sassuolo stay in 12th with 26 points.
Earlier on Saturday, Roma ended Torino’s 12-match unbeaten away run with a thrilling 3-2 victory at the Stadio Olimpico, before a superb individual goal by Gervinho earned Parma a 2-1 win away at Udinese.
(Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis)