Inter Milan were pegged back twice as Simone Inzaghi's 200th Serie A game as a coach ended in a frustrating 2-2 draw at Sampdoria.
Federico Dimarco's first Inter goal from an unstoppable free-kick was cancelled out when Edin Dzeko put Maya Yoshida's shot past his own goalkeeper at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
A superb Lautaro Martinez volley restored the lead only for an equally brilliant strike from Tommaso Augello to once again restore parity.
It means the champions have seven points from nine in their opening three matches and will look to regroup in the Champions League and a mouth-watering clash with Real Madrid.
Inter made a sloppy start and a poor Dimarco clearance led to a chain of events that saw Morten Thorsby wastefully head over the top.
Dimarco made up for that after 18 minutes with a venomous free-kick inside the D that picked out the top-left corner.
Sampdoria equalised when Yoshida's scrappy effort was diverted home via Dzeko after Inter failed to clear their lines at a corner.
Inter led at half-time when Hakan Calhanoglu dispossessed Mikkel Damsgaard and fed Nicolo Barella, whose sublime cross was expertly volleyed home by Martinez.
But they caught out again when Bartosz Bereszynski's cross was met with a rifling volley from fellow full-back Augello.
Shortly after, Ivan Perisic had a great chance to shoot or find Dzeko but really did neither when wastefully firing across goal, while Calhanoglu drilled wide from 20 yards with plenty of the goal to aim at.
Damsgaard almost put Sampdoria in front only for Danilo D'Ambrosio to clear off the line and rescue Inter.
What does it mean? Inzaghi denied on landmark game
Only Antonio Conte (136), the man Inzaghi replaced at San Siro, had more wins after 199 games in charge than the Inter boss' 110 in the three-points-for-a-win era.
Inter will be annoyed 111 did not arrive on his landmark match, but seven points from nine is certainly not the worst start to their title defence.
Barella impresses again
Barella has fast become an influential man for Inter and Italy, and so he was again here – finishing the game with a team-high two key passes, including his assist.
While it was good work from Calhanoglu to win the ball back for Inter's second, Barella's marauding run and pin-point cross was what made the goal. He was desperately unlucky not to be on the winning side.
Perisic off the pace
It was not the most effective performance from Perisic who was hauled off after 54 minutes not long after failing to pick out Dzeko for a routine tap-in.
The Croatia winger did not have a shot, key pass or provide a cross for his team-mate, while only 10 of his 21 passes found a team-mate (a success rate of 47.6 per cent that was the worst of any player on the pitch).
Key Opta Facts:
- Inter midfielder Barella has now provided an assist in three Serie A matches in a row for the first time in his career.
- Prior to Dimarco, the last Italian player for Inter to score with a direct free kick in Serie A was Mario Balotelli in February 2009 v Bologna.
- Martinez has scored in three consecutive Serie A games for just the second time, after a previous streak in October 2020.
- Antonio Candreva played his 400th match in Serie A - since his debut in the top-flight (27 January 2008) just one other outfield player reached this milestone: Fabio Quagliarella (411).
Inter switch focus to a huge Champions League clash against Real Madrid on Wednesday, before hosting Bologna in six days' time. Sampdoria travel to Empoli next Sunday.