Inter, who had been taken all the way by minnows Pordenone in their midweek TIM Cup tie before squeezing through on penalties, faced an Udinese side that under Massimo Oddo had won their last two.
The Friulani became the first team to score against Inter inside the first 15 minutes, but Mauro Icardi equalised immediately for the Argentine’s 17th goal of the season. Inter pressed forward but came up against a well-organised away rear-guard. However, the course of the game was to change soon after the restart.
It was all or nothing for the Nerazzurri and they came close to drawing level again … only to fall further behind to a classic counter-attack.
The only festive cheer at San Siro came from the visitors as Inter’s unbeaten start under Spalletti came crashing to a halt in spectacular fashion and opened up the year-end chase for top spot.