Paul Ince, the England midfielder, was sent off in the 37th minute, soon after Inter's Youri Djourkaeff missed a disputed penalty and the Piacenza goalkeeper Massimo Taibi, who had conceded the penalty, saved Ince's rebound shot. Ince was ruled to have struck Piacenza's Gianpietro Piovani as the players waited for a corner.
Piovani was also sent off late in the game for elbowing an opponent. Marco Branca headed Inter's winner from a corner early in the second half.
Inter, the only unbeaten club in Serie A, have 11 points while four clubs have 10 - including Juventus, who missed the chance to go top yesterday when they lost 2-1 at Vicenza after having Alessio Tacchinardi sent off for a high tackle. The defender Massimo Beghetto scored Vicenza's winner in the 71st minute.
A good day became better for Inter fans when they heard that Milan had lost 3-0 at Roma. Despite the return from injury of Franco Baresi, the Milan defence looked suspect as Francesco Totti, Massimiliano Cappioli and Abel Balbo all found the net.
Jurgen Klinsmann scored twice for Bayern Munich as they beat Cologne 4-2 to claim second place behind VfB Stuttgart in Germany's Bundesliga. The leaders were held 2-2 at Hansa Rostock. In Spain, Ronaldo scored twice, one after a solo run from inside his own half, in Barcelona's 5-1 win at Compostela.
There was trouble in the Netherlands, where riot police had to separate warring rival supporters before Utrecht's 1-1 home draw against Ajax, and in France, where the referee was struck by an object thrown from the crowd during Bastia's 0-0 draw against Monaco. Marseilles' 1-0 home defeat to Caen was followed by more rioting, with tear gas being used.