MILAN (Reuters) – Third-placed Inter Milan gave a toothless display as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat at Torino in Serie A on Sunday, leaving them without a league goal in two games since the winter break.
Inter coach Luciano Spalletti confirmed after the game that he had left winger Ivan Perisic out of the team after the Croatia World Cup runner-up requested a transfer.
Inter had two early chances as Lautaro Martinez missed the target from close range and Mauro Icardi had a shot saved by Salvatore Sirigu.
Armando Izzo scored the only goal with a header from a corner in the 35th minute as Torino coach Walter Mazzarri enjoyed revenge over Inter, who sacked him after 18 months in November 2014.
Inter, held 0-0 by Sassuolo one week ago, rarely looked like recovering and their evening finished in miserable style when substitute Matteo Politano, who had been on the pitch for only 15 minutes, was sent off for dissent in the 86th minute.
The winger was furious when the referee refused to give a free kick after he theatrically went to ground under a challenge from Ola Aina.
Inter, who have scored four goals in their last seven league games, have 40 points from 21 games, eight behind second-placed Napoli and five ahead of AC Milan. Torino are 10th with 30 points.
Spalletti said that Perisic wanted to leave although no suitable offers had been made.
“Players can say what they want but they are professionals, so for him to leave, a club needs to be there to buy him and they need to recognise his value,” said Spalletti. “If he doesn’t want to play, then of course he’s going to be left out.”
Spalletti said that Inter had been braced for a physical match on a difficult pitch which is exactly what they got.
“The difference was a goal conceded from a set-piece, which is what we feared,” he said. “Once we conceded then everything became increasingly difficult, even if playing tidy football here is never easy.”
Mazzarri was pleased his team had avoided some of the elementary mistakes that have been a feature of recent matches.
“It was a jump in quality, in terms of maturity,” he said.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Clare Fallon)