Roma were devastating in a 3-0 victory away to previously unbeaten Inter with Francesco Totti’s brace and Alessandro Florenzi.
This was a showdown between two of the most impressive sides of the season so far, as the Giallorossi had a perfect record after six rounds and the Nerazzurri drew twice. Hugo Campagnaro, Jonathan, Cristian Chivu and Javier Zanetti were injured, so Rolando and Alvaro Pereira stepped in. Douglas Maicon missed the visit to his old stadium along with Michael Bradley and Mattia Destro, so Vasilis Torosidis took right-back. Roma were unbeaten in their last four trips to San Siro, winning two last season between Serie A and Coppa Italia.
All the games this weekend have a minute’s silence for the victims of the Lampedusa disaster, who could be more than 300.
It was Roma who broke the deadlock after a frantic start, as Totti hit an unstoppable right-foot daisy-cutter from just outside the box that slotted right into the corner, leaving Samir Handanovic rooted to the spot. The assist was from Gervinho after a poor Andrea Ranocchia clearance, Totti’s 229th Serie A goal.
It was a wide open game, as moments after a sliding tackle stopped Gervinho pulling the trigger, Fredy Guarin’s absolute rocket cracked against the upright. The frame of the goal was still visibly shaking after that fierce strike.
Morgan De Sanctis got down to smother a Ricky Alvarez header on the line and Saphir Taider’s free kick hit the side-netting from a tight angle. The match was increasingly tense with a series of fouls and bookings for both sides.
Gervinho created a penalty out of nothing, as he gathered isolated near the corner flag. He shimmied past Cambiasso and was then tripped by Alvaro Pereira, though replays suggest it was right on the line or a matter of centimetres out. The referee pointed to the spot and Totti converted powerfully into the near top corner.
A desperate Rolando header stopped the cross reaching Alessandro Florenzi in front of an open goal. However, Florenzi got on the scoresheet just before the break. It was a classic counter-attack from an Inter corner, as Totti sparked it with some audacious skill in his own box, Kevin Strootman weighted the pass beautifully for Florenzi down the right and his angled drive went across Handanovic.
Walter Mazzarri had to gamble, so threw on Mauro Icardi for Pereira and moved Alvarez to the left. After 90 seconds Icardi had a shot charged down by Mehdi Benatia and so did Alvarez on the follow-up. However, Handanovic then parried Florenzi’s acrobatic volley from point-blank range on a Strootman assist.
Inter were certainly more aggressive and had more of the ball in the second half. Ranocchia had the ball in the net, but only by nodding it out of De Sanctis’ grasp, so the goal was disallowed.
Gervinho went on another counter-attack and was only denied by the underside of Handanovic’s wrist deflecting it wide. Icardi tried to pounce on a Federico Balzaretti header back, but missed by millimetres, allowing De Sanctis to gather.
Roma had to play the final 11 minutes with 10 men, as Balzaretti received a second yellow card for bringing down Alvarez. It ended 10 against 10, as at the 90th Alvarez hobbled over to the bench after all the substitutions had been completed.
Sent off: Balzaretti 79 (R)