Inter Milan held by Sampdoria as perfect start comes to an end

Inter Milan's Argentina's forward Lautaro Martinez (L) shoots to the goal next to Sampdoria's Japan's defender Maya Yoshida during the Italian Serie A football match between Sampdoria and Inter Milan at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa on September 12, 2021.

Inter Milan's perfect start to the defence of their Serie A title ended on Sunday when they were held to a 2-2 draw at Sampdoria but still moved up to second place. The champions are two points behind league leaders Napoli after failing to beat a spirited Samp side in Genoa following two wins in their opening two fixtures of the campaign. 

Federico Dimarco and Lautaro Martinez twice put Simone Inzaghi's side ahead at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris but strikes from Maya Yoshida and Tommaso Augello earned a draw for Roberto D'Aversa's Sampdoria, who sit 13th with two points.

The draw for Inter means they can be overhauled by city rivals AC Milan and Lazio, who face off at the San Siro later on Sunday, and Jose Mourinho's Roma who host Sassuolo in the day's late match.

Dimarco gave Inter the lead against the run of play in the 18th minute when the academy product lashed home a powerful free-kick, and Martinez almost doubled the away side's lead on the half-hour mark when his low shot was pushed away by Emil Audero.

However Samp drew level almost immediately through Yoshida, whose weak shot following a corner clipped Edin Dzeko and rolled past Samir Handanovic.

Martinez did have his second goal of the season just before the break thanks to brilliant play from Italy midfielder Nicolo Barella, whose pinpoint cross was expertly volleyed home by the Argentina forward.

However Augello earned Samp a point with a special volley of his own almost straight after half-time when he met Bartosz Bereszynski's cross with a powerful left-footed strike that left Handanovic motionless.

Inter had good chances to take the points through Edin Dzeko, Hakan Calhanoglu and Joaquin Correa but it was Samp who came closest to snatching a win with 15 minutes left.

Mikkel Damsgaard managed to sneak behind the Inter defence and let off a low shot which beat Handanovic, but just as it looked to be crossing the line Danilo D'Ambrosio rushed back to clear the ball away and save his team's blushes.

Inter host Real Madrid at the San Siro on Wednesday in their first Champions League group match of the season.

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