Mario Balotelli comes off bench to cancel out Bojinov's opener as Nerazzurri earn away point

PARMA - Mario Balotelli came off the bench to fire home his eighth goal of the season and cancel out Valeri Bojinov's opener for Parma at the Stadio Ennio Tardini.

Wednesday night's 1-1 draw will be seen as two points dropped, but it's still a point gained as the Nerazzurri increase their lead at the top of Serie A to nine points.

In a repeat of his tremendous start against Cagliari, Pandev fired three warnings at Parma in the opening ten minutes, Mirante saving two of them and Valiani blocking the other.

Materazzi sent a strong header wide from Cambiasso's corner but Parma soon settled and proved a tough proposition on the counter-attack.

Bojinov brought a save from Julio Cesar early on but the better chances were Inter's and Thiago Motta saw his close-range header kept out by Mirante before splendidly setting up Milito who was thwarted by the Parma keeper.

Pandev ended the half as he started it, testing Mirante again from the 20-yard mark.

Whatever Guidolin said in his half-time pep talk, it worked as Parma made a strong start to the second period.

Valiani and Bojinov had shots blocked and Lucio defended brilliantly to keep at bay the Gialloblu, who were rewarded for their efforts ten minutes in when Bojinov slotted home from close range after Julio Cesar blocked Zaccardo's shot from a corner.

Sensing a change or two, José Mourinho replaced Thiago Motta and Cordoba with Balotelli and Santon.

SuperMario obliged with the equaliser less than two minutes after coming on. Lucio got a touch from a left-wing corner and Balotelli was in the right place at the right time to rifle past Mirante.

In a lightning-fast run Biabiany tore past Materazzi and went through on goal before seeing his angled shot blocked by Julio Cesar, while Mariga went close against his ex-team with a low shot from 20 yards after Dellafiore's loose clearance.

The good work done by Parma was undone by Valiani in the 72nd minute when he was sent off for a second yellow. Inter tried to capitalise and Balotelli volleyed wide from a tight angle after a brilliant long-range pass from Mariga.

Materazzi, playing up front in the final stages after suffering a muscle strain with all three substitutions already used, went close in time added on when he rose to head over a left-wing cross from Santon.

Parma 1-1 Inter (HT: 0-0)

Scorers: Bojinov 55, Balotelli 59.

Parma: 83 Mirante; 5 Zaccardo, 15 Dellafiore, 6 Lucarelli; 80 Valiani, 11 Jimenez, 4 Morrone, 14 Galloppa (3 Antonelli 75), 7 Castellini; 86 Bojinov (43 Paloschi 68), 20 Biabiany.

Subs not used
: 1 Pavarini, 8 Lunardini, 9 Lanzafame, 19 Zenoni, 45 Galassi.

: Francesco Guidolin.

Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 6 Lucio, 23 Materazzi, 2 Cordoba (39 Santon 57); 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 8 Thiago Motta (45 Balotelli 57); 27 Pandev, 22 Milito, 9 Eto'o (17 Mariga 68).

Subs not used
: 1 Toldo, 7 Quaresma, 15 Krhin, 5 Samuel.

: José Mourinho.

Referee: Mauro Bergonzi (Genoa).

Booked: Pandev 19, Morrone 37, Valiani 64, 72, Cambiasso 87.
Sent off
: Valiani 72.

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