Cagliari 2 Inter 1: Icardi still absent as Nerazzurri drop points again

Mauro Icardi was absent from the Inter squad again as Luciano Spalletti's side went down 2-1 away to Cagliari in Serie A on Friday.

Cagliari celebrate Luca Ceppitelli scoring against Inter   -  Getty Images

Leonardo Pavoletti's tremendous volley earned Cagliari a 2-1 Serie A home win against Inter, with the Nerazzurri once more without deposed captain Mauro Icardi.

Icardi was not included in Luciano Spalletti's squad amid an ongoing rift between club and player, with Inter again dropping points in the absence of its star striker after a contentious 3-3 draw at Fiorentina last time out.

Inter remain in third place but can slip to fourth -- and the last automatic qualifying spot for the Champions League -- if city rival AC Milan sees off Sassuolo at the San Siro on Saturday.

Should fifth-placed Roma defeat Lazio on Saturday, then it will go level with Inter on 47 points.

Inter slipped a goal down in Sardinia on Friday after 31 minutes when Luca Ceppitelli headed home.

Lautaro Martinez levelled with another header seven minutes later from a cross by former Cagliari player Radja Nainggolan.

But with half-time approaching, Leonardo Pavoletti restored his team’s lead with a smart volley.

Cagliari could have heaped further misery on Inter in stoppage time at the end of the game but Nicolo Barella missed a penalty kick.

Friday’s result represented another twist in a rollercoaster season for Luciano Spalletti’s side.

After defeats to Torino and Bologna, Inter then put together back-to-back wins over Parma and Sampdoria before being held to a 3-3 draw at Fiorentina after having led 3-1.

With inputs from AFP

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