Serie A Match of the Week – Roma vs Inter


Roma-Inter always tends to be amusing and the latest edition lived up to the tradition. The draw likely leaves the reeling home team a little more satisfied than the guests. The Giallorossi came into the game having won just one of their previous five fixtures and were coming off a bad loss in Udine. Inter dropped points in only one of their past nine matches in Serie A, but were beaten by Tottenham midweek.

Eusebio Di Francesco is dealing with a host of injuries, more notably the ones to Edin Dzeko, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Stephan El Shaarawy, while Javier Pastore and Diego Perotti were available for a limited stint. Even with his limited alternatives, he picked Davide Santon over Justin Kluivert, with Alessandro Florenzi playing as offensive winger, while Nicolò Zaniolo was the choice in the hole. Luciano Spalletti confirmed Balde Keita in the XI, this time replacing Matteo Politano, and opted for Joao Mario to fill in for Radja Nainggolan.

The Nerazzurri were a little more assertive to open the match, and threatened Robin Olsen with a header by Mauro Icardi and a long-range effort by Keita. La Lupa responded with a solid shoot by Florenzi and the two teams started going mano-a-mano. Danilo D’Ambrosio started what would turn out to be a busy day for him with a long delivery for Ivan Perisic, but his header, while well-timed, went over the bar.

Roma begun to be more dangerous: Zaniolo put it wide with his feathery left foot, then they had the biggest chance of the first half as Patrik Schick barged into the box with a dazzling back-heel flick, set up Florenzi, but captain’s sure fire cross-shot hit the post. Zaniolo again forced a save by Samir Handanovic from distance, just after Mauro Icardi did not manage to loft it past the goalie on a pinpoint little ball over the top by Marcelo Brozovic.

D’Ambrosio again found a teammate, this time Keita, with a cross, but the header was tame. Just after a penalty claim by the Giallorossi for a tackle on Zaniolo, D’Ambrosio finally got his assist connecting with the Senegalese winger, who, wide open in the box, knock it home with his shin. Before the end of the half, Aleksandar Kolarov challenged Handanovic with a free kick, but goalie pulled it out of the top drawer.

Roma quickly equalized at the start of the second half with Cengiz Under, who uncorked a left cannon shot from long range after shaking off a pair of defender, which left Handanovic flat-footed. However, Inter are very resourceful and can count on a world-class striker and he threw a proper haymaker with a header on a corner kick. La Lupa tottered but did not go down and eight minutes later they did draw a penalty as Brozovic deflected a ball with his elbow. Aleksandar Kolarov took and buried the penalty without hesitation.

The Beneamata had the two final chances: a through ball for Icardi and an effort from deep by Brozovic, but Olsen put his hands on both and that was all she wrote.

The goal scorers Icardi, Keita and Under amassed four points, Brozovic and Bryan Cristante two for the assists, while Kolarov and D’Ambrosio lost some because of a yellow card and conceding twice.

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