MILAN - Nine-man Inter battled for a point against Sampdoria after having both central defenders sent off in the first half.
The draw - our third consecutive stalemate in Serie A after the 1-1 and 0-0 results away to Parma and Napoli - lifts the Nerazzurri eight points clear of second-placed Roma and ten clear of third-placed AC Milan, who both play their Week 25 fixtures on Sunday.
Walter Samuel, already booked for a foul on Pozzi in the 28th minute, was shown a straight red in the 31st for a last-man challenge on the Samp striker.
The Argentine was followed into the players tunnel by Ivan Cordoba seven minutes later, Tagliavento showing the Colombian a second yellow after a foul on Pozzi.
Inter played with nine men against eleven for most of the second half and were offered a lifeline with fifteen minutes remaining when Pazzini was sent off for a second booking.
On a night in which he made few friends, referee Tagliavento needlessly yellow-carded Eto'o for an apparent dive. The decision sparked a panolada in the stands - the waving of white handkerchiefs as a sign of disgust that is more commonly seen in Spanish stadiums.
The atmosphere of anger was perhaps felt by Sampdoria's players, who failed to capitalise on their numerical superiority and Julio Cesar only had two real saves to make in the second half, one from Mannini's long-range shot and the other from Pozzi's flicked header.
The best chances were Inter's, Sneijder sending his long-range free kick just over the bar before Eto'o had a close-range effort well saved by Storari after being brilliantly put through by Pandev.
Inter 0-0 Sampdoria
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 2 Cordoba, 25 Samuel, 4 Zanetti; 5 Stankovic, 19 Cambiasso, 11 Muntari (6 Lucio ); 10 Sneijder (8 Thiago Motta 81); 22 Milito (27 Pandev 72), 9 Eto'o.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 7 Quaresma, 15 Khrin, 17 Mariga.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Sampdoria: 30 Storari; 8 Zauri, 28 Gastaldello, 6 Lucchini, 3 Ziegler; 77 Semioli (20 Padalino 84), 17 Palombo, 16 Poli (12 Tissone 79), 18 Guberti (7 Mannini 56); 9 Pozzi, 10 Pazzini.
Subs not used: 21 Guardalben, 5 Accardi, 11 Scepovic, 13 Rossi.
Coach: Luigi Del Neri.
Referee: Paolo Tagliavento (Terni).
Booked: Pozzi 23, Samuel 28, Cordoba 33, 38, Pazzini 36, 74, Eto'o 55, Lucchini 63.
Sent off: Samuel 31, Cordoba 38, Pazzini 74.