SERIE A MATCH REPORT

Serie A Week 17 - 10 Jan 2021 (11.30 UK)
Roma 2 - 2 Inter
Pellegrini 17 (R), Skriniar 56 (I), Hakimi 63 (I), Mancini 86 (R)
Stadio Olimpico

It was a four-goal thriller at the Olimpico, as Inter regret fumbling a lead, but are glad to keep hold of second place, as a defeat would’ve brought Roma level.

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This was a head-to-head for second place, as only three points separated them going into the game. Edin Dzeko, Leonardo Spinazzola and Romelu Lukaku returned to the starting XI for their teams, but Pedro Rodriguez, Antonio Mirante, Riccardo Calafiori, Federico Fazio and Nicolò Zaniolo missed out for the hosts. Danilo D’Ambrosio was the only real absentee for Inter, who preferred Matteo Darmian to Ashley Young.

The first big chance saw Pau Lopez acrobatically fingertip the Lukaku header over the bar from six yards. Moments later, Roma gave it away cheaply and Chris Smalling had to fling himself in Lukaku’s path to block the shot.

However, Roma opened the scoring when Jordan Veretout tackled Nicolò Barella to spark the counter, allowing Lorenzo Pellegrini to drill into the near bottom corner from the edge of the box, with the aid of a slight deflection off Alessandro Bastoni.

Samir Handanovic had to beat away a ferocious Veretout strike after Spinazzola blazed past Achraf Hakimi, while Arturo Vidal fired wide from a promising position. Matteo Darmian limped off after a knock, while Lautaro Martinez turned a free header over, then had a goal ruled offside.

Inter traditionally do better after the break this season and they certainly seemed to come out with renewed determination, as Lukaku nodded just wide of the back post, Marcelo Brozovic’s strike was deflected over the bar.

Lukaku burst down the left and rolled across a perfect ball for Lautaro Martinez, but Pau Lopez somehow managed the save from point-blank range.

The equaliser was coming and Inter got it with the towering Milan Skriniar header from Brozovic’s corner, although Roma were frustrated that it probably shouldn’t have been a corner, as it came off Hakimi.

The Nerazzurri were constantly pinning Roma back with a series of shots charged down, and the goal to turn it around was simply stunning. Lautaro Martinez sparked the counter until Achraf Hakimi cut inside from the right for a left-foot rocket off the underside of the crossbar.

Arturo Vidal should’ve made it 3-1 on 72 minutes, but hit a fresh-air shot on an inspired Hakimi cross.

That was the sign Roma needed to wake up and try to get level, Henrikh Mkhitaryan scuffing his finish under pressure from Hakimi and complaining he might’ve been fouled.

The Giallorossi then started to dominate again in the final minutes, so after Handanovic beat away a Gianluca Mancini strike from close range, it felt inevitable the centre-back would then score from the resulting corner. On Gonzalo Villar’s cross, Mancini steered his looping header into the far bottom corner.

Roma pushed more to the end for a winner, but for the sixth consecutive Serie A meeting, these teams share the spoils. It's Milan who are celebrating, as they extend their lead at the top to three points.

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Roma: Pau Lopez; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Villar, Veretout (Cristante 79), Spinazzola (Peres 73); Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko (Mayoral 88)
Inter: Handanovic; Skriniar, De Vrij, A Bastoni; Hakimi (Kolarov 82), Barella, Brozovic, Vidal (Gagliardini 82), Darmian (Young 34); R Lukaku, Lautaro Martinez (Perisic 77)
Ref: Di Bello