MILAN - There was no repeat of last October's 5-0 win at the Luigi Ferraris as Genoa held Inter to their third 0-0 draw in four Serie A games.
Keen to avoid a similar drubbing in the return fixture, the visitors matched the Nerazzurri blow for blow in an evenly-balanced first half that saw few shots on goal.
Julio Cesar was severely tested by Mesto in the early stages, and again by Sculli in time added on. Inter's best chance of the opening forty-five fell to Stankovic, whose crisp 20-yard drive was saved by Amelia.
Struggling to gain the upper hand, Inter reorganised in the second half with holding midfielders Muntari and Stankovic making way for Cordoba and Quaresma, and Eto'o replacing Pandev.
Zanetti, the only recognisable defensive midfielder on the pitch, switched from full-back to the centre of the park and Inter, top-heavy in attack, slipped through the gears.
Genoa were pinned back for much of the second half as Inter created plenty of chances coming forward. Balotelli had a shot saved and Milito fired wide from tight angles on both wings, with Sneijder narrowly missing from a free kick and Samuel nodding wide from a corner.
In the closing stages Milito thought he was through on goal from Eto'o's well-timed pass, but mysteriously the flag went up for offside with the replay showing El Principe to be in an onside position.
Inter 0-0 Genoa
Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 25 Samuel, 4 Zanetti; 5 Stankovic (7 Quaresma 75), 11 Muntari (2 Cordoba 58); 45 Balotelli, 10 Sneijder, 27 Pandev (9 Eto'o 58); 22 Milito.
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 17 Mariga, 23 Materazzi, 89 Arnautovic.
Coach: José Mourinho.
Genoa: 32 Amelia; 15 Papastathopoulos, 26 Bocchetti, 24 Moretti; 7 Rossi, 77 Milanetto, 21 Zapater, 4 Criscito; 14 Sculli (6 Palacio 62), 19 Suazo (17 Jankovic 53; 10 Palladino 68), 20 Mesto.
Subs not used: 73 Scarpi, 5 Kharja, 28 Juric, 40 Tomovic.
Coach: Gian Piero Gasperini.
Referee: Luca Banti (Livorno).
Booked: Criscito 11, Samuel 51, Balotelli 45+4.