Inter Milan’s Serie A hopes were dented by lowly Bologna as the defending champs slumped to an unexpected defeat away from home.

The defeat was self-inflicted though as a howler from Inter Milan’s stand-in goalkeeper Ionut Radu gifted the winning goal to the home side with Simone Inzaghi’s team missing the chance to go top of Serie A.

This was the much-talked-about “game in hand” for Inter as the match was originally due to take place in January but was postponed after numerous COVID-19 cases were discovered in the Bologna squad.

Inter wasted no time in taking the lead with Croatian forward Ivan Perisic drilling home inside three minutes to set the tone.

An early goal could have signaled trouble for Bologna as Inter has been in rampant form after a lean patch in the middle of the season.

The home side responded well, however, and got back on level terms in the 28th minute through in-form Marko Arnautovic who glanced a header into the net.

Chances came and went for Inter as they looked to regain their lead but it looked like there was only going to be one winner.

That was not the case as Radu, with nobody around him, let a throw-in pass his foot as he tried to clear it, with Nicola Sansone tapping in on the goal-line for what proved to be the game-winner with 9 minutes left on the clock.

Radu was deputizing for Inter’s mainstay captain Samir Handanovic who was absent with a back injury.

The defeat, Inter’s first in 12 in all competitions, leaves them on 72 points from 34 matches, two points behind leaders Milan.

Bologna stays 13th on 42 points.

Sandro Tonali’s stoppage-time winner at Lazio on Sunday helped Milan regain the top spot, but in-form Inter, on the back of four successive league wins, was expected to make a swift return to the summit.

Inter still has cause for hope with Milan due to facing tricky ties against Fiorentina, Atalanta, and Sassuolo.