Stephan El Shaarawy’s early stunner was eventually answered by Ivan Perisic, as Inter and Roma take a point apiece in this fight for the top four.
This was a huge showdown for Champions League places, especially as Milan’s draw with Parma this afternoon meant a win would leapfrog the Giallorossi into fourth. Daniele De Rossi, Davide Santon and Rick Karsdorp missed out, joined by Kostas Manolas who also picked up a muscular problem in the warm-up, so Juan Jesus stepped in at the last minute. The Nerazzurri had to do without Marcelo Brozovic, but Borja Valero recovered and Mauro Icardi was surprisingly benched in favour of Lautaro Martinez.
Edin Dzeko surged forward after just two minutes, completing a give and go with Aleksandar Kolarov only to prod into the arms of Samir Handanovic, as he had more time than he thought on the ball.
Kolarov then drilled just wide from the edge of the box, but Antonio Mirante needed a sensational save to claw Lautaro Martinez’s header off the line from a Matteo Politano cross, pushing it on to the upright.
Roma took the lead on 14 minutes with a stunner from Stephan El Shaarawy. He gathered down the left, cut in to dummy past two defenders and curled a fantastic right-foot strike into the far top corner from 20 metres out. Samir Handanovic had no chance.
Alessandro Florenzi had penalty appeals, but Borja Valero nodded the cross on to his own arm, so it could not be considered voluntary handball.
El Shaarawy stung Handanovic’s gloves from a tricky angle, this time with his left boot, and Danilo D’Ambrosio’s sliding tackle prevented Lorenzo Pellegrini going clear on goal.
There was some confusion on 40 minutes, as the referee pointed to the spot for a foul on D’Ambrosio, but Borja Valero had blatantly fouled El Shaarawy first, so it was a free kick for Roma instead.
Inter started to pour forward towards half-time, as Kwadwo Asamoah rode two challenges for his solo effort to be deflected inches wide of the upright, then on the resulting corner Mirante spilled a Politano strike only for Federico Fazio to stop Matias Vecino turning in the rebound.
D’Ambrosio got his head to a cross at the back post, but from point-blank range it just clipped the upright.
Nicolò Zaniolo came off the bench for Cengiz Under to face his old club in the second half, even if he never managed to play for the senior squad.
He made an immediate impact, the slide-rule pass releasing Pellegrini, but the midfielder drilled wide under pressure from Milan Skriniar.
Icardi came on for Nainggolan, greeted by a mixture of applause from the crowd and loud jeers from the ultras, as once again the Inter fans were arguing between themselves.
The hosts finally got their equaliser, as D’Ambrosio’s left-footed cross from the right flank found Ivan Perisic totally unmarked at the back post for a diving header from close range. It was the Croatian’s first Serie A home goal since August 2018 against Torino.
It became wide open, as Handanovic smothered a Pellegrini half-volley and Lautaro Martinez volleyed over the bar from a very promising position as he met Vecino’s cross.
Kolarov thought he’d won it in the final minute on the counter, as he managed to get the angled drive away despite stumbling, but Handanovic performed a fantastic one-handed save.
See the latest Serie A predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk