Serie A - Catania stun struggling Inter
Esteban Cambiasso's volleyed goal within the opening 10 minutes contrasted starkly with those same 10 minutes of the second-half, as a curling Almiron effort and Lodi penalty sent Inter spiralling towards their fourth league defeat of the season.
The match was billed as a must-win game for Claudio Ranieri's side, who had dropped to 17th in the standings after their 3-0 home defeat to Napoli last time out; at that point, having secured just four points from five league games following a miserable start to their Serie A campaign.
And it was Catania who looked to exploit their opponent's recent doom and gloom, starting in an assured character which highlighted how difficult it is to beat Vincenzo Montella's men at Stadio Angelo Massimino.
Injury-stricken Inter survived this opening scare, where they simply struggled to keep hold of the ball, with Cambiasso's goal in the sixth minute coming against the early run of play.
Diego Milito had sprayed the ball out wide to Maicon, and the Brazilian's cross from the right was volleyed down into the ground by Cambiasso before bouncing past Mariano Andujar into the far corner of the Catania goal.
Following that early setback, Catania struggled to impose themselves, and Inter began to regain their defensive shape and solidity - something which has been alarmingly lacking in their previous league matches - impressively nullifying the goal-threat of the home team's Argentine striking duo of Gonzalo Bergessio and Alejandro Gomez.
Catania's most notable chance of a first-half shorn on quality but nevertheless played at a frenetic pace, saw Mariano Izco's dangerous cross from deep on the right in the 16th minute skim across the heart of the Inter penalty box, with neither Bergessio or Gomez alert to the simple task of tapping the ball home.
However, the match was to turn on its head at the start of the second through two incidents involving the now revitalised Bergessio.
With Montella's words still ringing in Catania's ears, Bergessio sliced through the Inter midfield before feeding the ball to Almiron, positioned just off-centre, who beautifully curled the ball first-time from the edge of the Inter box past a static Luca Castellazzi in the 47th minute.
Then, four minutes later, Inter found themselves decisively behind. Bergessio evaded the Nerazzuri's defence and darted through on goal, before being cyncically brought down in the box by Castellazzi. The consequent penalty was then drilled home by Lodi to the delight of the Catania faithful.
Instead, it looked more likely that Catania would add a third, rather than Inter securing that all-important equaliser, as Ranieri's men began to look bereft of ideas going forward and absent-minded at the back with Castellazzi called on to make fine saves to deny Gomez and second-half substitutes Gennaro Delvecchio and Andrea Catellani.
As the final whistle sounded, Catania celebrated the significant victory that they had just secured, while Inter were left to reflect on a second-half in which they floundered as their miserable early season form once again failed to ignite.