Inter Milan’s eight games straight full of wins in Serie A concluded that came from their two former players, Antonio Candreva and Keita Balde Diao, struck to give Sampdoria a shock 2-1 win in Genoa on Wednesday.
Candreva converted from the penalty spot before Keita guided home a finish to give Sampdoria a two-goal lead at the interval, and Inter only had Stefan De Vrij’s header as a response.
Alexis Sanchez had a penalty saved early on but Inter struggled to threaten offensively in the absence of striker Romelu Lukaku, who was only fit enough to feature for the final half hour and couldn’t inspire a comeback.
The result left Antonio Conte frustrated as his side squandered the chance to go top of the table ahead of AC Milan, who play Juventus later on Wednesday.
“It was a strange match,” Conte said on Sky Italia.
“Sometimes you lose games like this, where you don’t deserve it.”
Inter Milan remain seated in second with 36 points, just one point behind AC Milan, while Sampdoria are 11th with 20 points.
Penalties dominated the opening stages as Inter were awarded one for handball following a VAR review, which Emil Audero saved, before the same offense at the other end gave Candreva the chance to score against his former employers.
The hosts hit the bar through a Lorenzo Tonelli header, and Keita then doubled their advantage on the 38th-minute after some excellent work by Mikkel Damsgaard to find the space to set him up with a cross.
Conte threw on attackers in search of a response as Ivan Perisic, Lukaku and Christian Eriksen were introduced, but De Vrij’s header from a corner was their only breakthrough.
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Lukaku picked up a muscular problem in Sunday’s 6-2 win against Crotone and was lacking fitness, but he managed to draw a sharp save from Audero with a header.
“It wasn’t the first time we’ve played without Romelu, even though he’s obviously a quality player,” Conte said.
“He wasn’t at 100 percent and you could see that when he came on.”
Inter Milan will face AS Roma next, who are three points behind Inter and coming from a 3-1 win at Crotone.