MILAN (Reuters) - Inter Milan fought back with two goals in the last five minutes as they began their Serie A campaign with a 4-3 win over Fiorentina on Saturday.
Runners-up last season and seen as the main challengers to the dominance of Juventus this term, Inter suffered one of their familiar slumps as they fell 3-2 behind to a Fiorentina side inspired by 37-year-old Franck Ribery.
But an 87th minute equaliser from Romelu Lukaku followed by Danilo D'Ambrosio's header two minutes later gave them the points - and possibly spared them one of coach Antonio Conte's infamous dressing-downs after the game.
Inter could not have made a worse start as they gifted Fiorentina the lead in the third minute with a goal worthy of a playground kickabout.
Cristiano Biraghi floated the ball into the area, the Inter defence stopped and waited for an offside flag which never came, and Christian Kouame and Giacomo Bonaventura were left unmarked in the six-metre area.
The two exchanged passes in front of goalkeeper Samir Handanovic and Kouame turned the ball into the net.
Inter levelled from a counter-attack on the stroke of halftime when Nicolo Barella burst forward from just inside his first half and found Lautaro Martinez who found the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Martinez was also involved in Inter's second goal seven minutes after the break when his shot was turned into the net by Fiorentina defender Federico Ceccherini.
But Fiorentina turned the game around with two moments of Ribery inspiration.
The Frenchman ran down the left and laid the ball back for Gaetaeno Castrovilli to equalise in the 57th minute and threaded an exquisite ball through the Inter defence for Federico Chiesa to dink over Handanovic six minutes later.
Dusan Vlahovic missed a chance for Fiorentina's fourth in the 80th minute and it proved extremely costly.
Lukaku, Inter's topscorer last season, turned in a cross from debutant Achraf Hakimi in the 87th minute and D'Ambrosio headed in from an Alexis Sanchez cross two minutes later to complete a remarkable comeback.
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris and Hugh Lawson)