Inter coach Roberto Mancini was delighted after his side emerged with a 1-1 home draw against Roma to maintain their nine-point lead at the top of Serie A.
Francesco Totti gave Roma a deserved first-half lead and Inter were reduced to 10 men just past the hour mark after left-back Maxwell was carried off just moments after Mancini made his third substitution.
But following the late dismisal of Roma’s French centre-back Philippe Mexes, Inter captain Javier Zanetti fired home a right-foot volley two minutes from time to earn a point for the leaders.
It means they maintain their nine-point lead over Roma and remain on course to retain the title.
“It’s a draw that’s worth a victory for the way it was earnt,” Mancini told Sky Sport.
“Totti scored with their first chance on goal and then that shaped the course of the match. It was very difficult for us with 10 men.”
Roma coach Luciano Spalletti was furious with the sending off of Mexes.
“Speaking reasonably and without anger I have to say that one of Mexes’s (bookings) was definitely not a foul,” he said.
“It was unfair because the second booking wasn’t deserved. Did that turn the game? Well, a goal followed on from it.”
Elsewhere, Milan were held to a 1-1 draw at Catania and lost fourth place to Fiorentina who beat Livorno 1-0 at home.
Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti was disappointed at the two dropped points.
“We’ve missed an opportunity here, we went in front but we didn’t manage to see out an important result,” he said.
“I’m sorry about the situation we created for ourselves. We were taken by surprise by the goal.”
Ancelotti blamed his team’s performance on fatigue caused by a fixture backlog related to their involvement in the Club World Cup in December.
“We can’t do any more at the moment, we have too many matches and we can’t manage them all. Some of our most important players need to rest, that’s the point.
“The team is not firing on all cylinders at the moment.”