Inter had the best scoring opportunities, forcing two excellent Antonio Mirante saves, as Roma picked up a precious point at San Siro.
This was a huge match, as the new leaders hosted a Roma side in fourth place, both on excellent recent form. However, Edin Dzeko was only fit for the bench after a bout of flu and Pau Lopez had a muscular issue, joining Justin Kluivert, Javier Pastore, Federico Fazio, Davide Zappacosta and Bryan Cristante on the treatment table. Ex-Inter youth product Nicolò Zaniolo was therefore tested as a False 9 and Lorenzo Pellegrini made captain. Inter missed Roberto Gagliardini, Stefano Sensi, Nicolò Barella and Alexis Sanchez.
The Giallorossi are now unbeaten at San Siro in Serie A since 2015, losing only three of their last 15 visits, with five wins and seven draws.
Antonio Mirante immediately had work to do, a one-handed save on Romelu Lukaku after Jordan Veretout’s terrible back-pass.
Roma also had to make another change, as ex-Inter full-back Davide Santon pulled up with a suspected thigh strain, replaced by Leonardo Spinazzola.
Zaniolo turned his marker to test Samir Handanovic, while the visitors dominated the possession and pressure early doors, pinning Inter into their own half for long periods.
Lautaro Martinez fired wide on the turn first time, while another Roma defensive howler – this time from Diego Perotti – was wasted by Matias Vecino.
Moments later, Mirante passed it straight to Lukaku on the edge of the area, but this time Marcelo Brozovic blasted over and failed to make the most of the error.
On the stroke of half-time, Lautaro Martinez seemed to be brought down by Gianluca Mancini in the D, but the referee had already whistled for handball.
Inter were also forced into a substitution, as Antonio Candreva pulled up clutching his back and made way for Valentino Lazaro.
Aleksandar Kolarov fired over from distance, but Mirante was again called into a decisive one-handed save on Vecino, who almost finished a well-worked team move with the outside of his right boot from 12 yards.
Zaniolo’s volley was charged down and a Diego Perotti cross flashed past two teammates, unable to get decent contact, while Cristiano Biraghi’s half-volley was deflected wide after an offside in the build-up.
Dzeko was not fit to start due to a flu virus, but did come on for the final 25 minutes in place of Perotti.
Inter had penalty appeals on 69 minutes when Lautaro Martinez ran into the box, his low strike was blocked by Spinazzola’s foot, it bounced up on to the Roma man’s arm, but only because of the ricochet and the arm was not in an unnatural position.
Vecino rolled across for Lautaro Martinez, who came sliding in only to miss the ball from six yards, under pressure from Mancini.
For the first time this season in all competition, Antonio Conte’s Inter failed to find the net.
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