Rome: Udinese ended Leonardo’s perfect record since taking over as Inter Milan coach from Rafael Benitez with a 3-1 win over the Italian champions in a lively encounter in Serie A on Sunday.
Inter, aiming for a sixth straight win since the Brazilian’s arrival in the San Siro dugout, took the lead after quarter of an hour through Dejan Stankovic.
Udinese then stunned Inter with goals from Cristian Zapata and Antonio Di Natale - his 15th of the season - to go into the break 2-1 up, with Maurizio Domizzi adding a third midway through the second half.
The result left Udinese treading water in eighth, although they made up ground to within one point of seventh-placed Palermo, while Inter remained fifth on 35 points, six adrift of leaders AC Milan who tackle Cesena in Sunday’s late game.
Giving his reaction to his first loss in charge Leonardo told Inter’s official website: “In football you lose games; it’s no big deal. It won’t change the way we see things and it won’t change the way I see the team.”
“We got off to a great start,” he added.
“Taking the lead at a stadium like this and against a team like Udinese was no mean feat, so I don’t think it was a case of us making mistakes or losing our concentration.”
“Perhaps we were a bit tense because of how a few things went. The first half was an evenly balanced affair but Udinese had the upper hand in the second half.”
“However, I must say that hardly any of the goals we’ve conceded from set pieces have been because we were caught out by the opposition; most have been because of a lucky deflection or rebound. So I don’t think we have a problem with man-marking at set pieces.”
“Full credit to the opposition - they are capable of hurting any team.”
For Udinese, it was their first win over Inter in 14 attempts.
Napoli replaced Roma in second place after a 2-0 win at Bari which put them a point behind Milan but they have played a game more.
Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi fired Napoli in front with a 38th-minute free-kick before Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani added the second, three minutes from time with his 14th goal of the season.
Lazio stayed in fourth place after crashing to a shock 3-1 defeat at Bologna.
Sergio Floccari gave Lazio a fifth-minute lead before Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez levelled in the 36th minute.
Three minutes later Marco Di Vaio put Bologna ahead and the same player added the third in stoppage time for his 13th league goal of the campaign.
Juventus are sixth, just behind Inter on goal difference, after a 0-0 draw at Sampdoria where their only fit striker Amauri played with a face mask to protect a broken nose.
On Saturday, Roma stayed in the title hunt with a 3-0 win over Cagliari.
I have a lot of respect and admiration for what Juventus have achieved over the last few years.