Second-half goals from Milan Skriniar and Andrea Ranocchia secured Inter Milan a much-needed 2-0 triumph over basement club Benevento in Serie A.
The Nerazzurri's stuttering season appeared set to plumb new depths against travel-sick opponents until they scored twice in the space of three second-half minutes.
Skriniar lifted the mood inside a toxic San Siro when he caught Benevento sleeping at a corner, the defender running on to a bouncing ball to nod home.
Ranocchia followed his fellow centre-back's lead soon after, meeting Joao Cancelo's inviting free-kick with a firm header that flashed into the bottom right corner of goalkeeper Christian Puggioni's net.
Serie A's bottom club had proved a major stumbling block until the quick-fire double and even had a strong shout for a penalty with the score at 0-0, Danilo Cataldi denied when appearing to tumble over Ranocchia's outstretched leg.
However, the visitors finished the game with 10 men, Nicolas Viola sent off after receiving two late bookings, as Inter picked up a win that lifts it to third in the table.
For Inter, it's all about points, not performances. When it won the reverse fixture last October thanks to a brace from Marcelo Brozovic, it was unbeaten in seven games and appeared set to challenge for the Scudetto.
Instead, a run of just one win in its past 10 league outings either side of the winter break has abruptly ended any title talk and instead left it in a fight to finish in the top four.
Having seen his side struggle in a 2-0 loss at Genoa, Spalletti recalled Ivan Perisic and handed Rafinha his first start since joining from Barcelona, although the returning Mauro Icardi was only deemed fit enough for a place on the bench.
The changes failed to inspire the hosts in the first half, though, and it was Benevento that had the best opportunity to score before the break.
Massimo Coda's fierce drive on the counter forced Samir Handanovic into a smart save and immediately triggered a chorus of jeers from a far-from-happy Inter faithful.
At the other end, Gaetano Letizia's well-timed tackle stopped Antonio Candreva from calling Puggioni into action, the forward seeing the ball taken off his left foot just as he was set to pull the trigger.
Matias Vecino finally managed Inter's first on-target attempt in the 54th minute, unleashing a 25-yard shot that Puggioni punched over for a corner in rather unorthodox fashion.
Cataldi was outraged when the officials failed to point to the spot after his clash with the clumsy Ranocchia, who quickly made an impact in the opposite box to put the game beyond Benevento.
By that stage Skriniar had finally broken the deadlock, heading home his fourth goal of the season via a deflection off the underside of the crossbar.
Benevento's misery was complete with the dismissal of Viola, leaving it still without an away point in Serie A. While it is stuck at the bottom, things might finally be looking up for Inter.