Inter Milan appeared far from a title contender in a 1-1 draw at Bologna on Tuesday that saw the Nerazzurri drop their first points in Serie A.
Having won its opening four matches, there had been growing chatter that a remodeled Inter side could challenge six-time defending champion Juventus and Napoli for the Italian league title.
But Bologna dominated the first half, bringing back memories of Inter's tumultuous 2016-17 campaign when the club struggled through four managerial changes, and only a late penalty from Mauro Icardi prevented a loss for the visitors.
Simone Verdi put the hosts ahead shortly after the half-hour mark, taking the ball near midfield before scoring with a powerful shot from beyond the area.
Icardi's penalty in the 75th followed a foul on Eder that was confirmed by the video assistant referee.
"We know we need to improve," Eder said. "But if you can't win, the important thing is not to lose.We've got to focus on our goal, which is third or fourth place and a Champions League spot."
Despite the undesired result, Inter still moved into the Serie A lead, one point above Napoli and Juventus, which each play on Wednesday - looking to extend their perfect records.
Napoli visits a Lazio side that has had a strong start and Juventus hosts Fiorentina, which has won two straight games.
Bologna, which has won only one of its opening five games, is mid-table.