lukaku, conte, hakimi

MATCH REPORT: INTER MILAN VS ROMA, HOSTS OVERCOME ROMA PRESSURE TO KEEP UNDEFEATED STREAK ALIVE

’s 100th game in charge of Inter came against the side he had not beaten during his Nerazzurri career so far, Paulo Fonseca’s but his title winning side made sure that they took care of their bogey team.

The game started encouragingly for the capital club as they looked to keep Inter under the pump by attacking often. But it was the champions who took the lead in the 11th minute after Matteo Darmian’s cutback from the flank found an onrushing Brozovic unmarked in the box. The Croatian tucked it away effortlessly for his second goal of the league season. 

 

 

One soon became two in the 20th minute as Lukaku ran onto a sumptuous ball over the top by Brozovic. The Belgian waited for help to arrive and it was Vecino who ran on to his pass before sliding it in first time for 2-0. Things almost got worse for Roma as Davide Santon was shown only a yellow for hauling down Sanchez after the Chilean had bypassed the left back into an advantageous position. 

 

 

But Fonseca’s side did pull one back ten minutes from halftime after Dzeko’s through ball near the box was seized upon by Mkhitaryan who beat stand-in goalkeeper Ionut Radu. Inter kept attacking,though, with Vecino’s shot from Sanchez’s clever back heel saved by the Roma custodian. That was the Chilean’s last involvement with Lautaro replacing him due to what appeared to be an ankle issue. Both teams created a few half chances but nothing of note as the first 45 ended 2-1 to Inter.

 

 

The second half started with the same end to end action as both teams chased goals. Dzeko thought he had equalised with a quick turn and shot but it just clattered off the post. Roma wasted another good chance when Cristante headed wide after being left unmarked from a Mkhitaryan cross.

 

Conte’s side were struggling to string together a sustained spell of possession as Pellgrini tested Radu again. A brouhaha ensued seven minutes from time with Darboe, having given the ball away near his box, fouled Pinamonti after the Italian striker got his shot away. The referee awarded a goal kick despite furious protests by the home side, which VAR stuck to. 

 

 

Inter were not to be denied in the face of pressure, with substitutes Pinamonti and Hakimi combining following a fast break to set up Lukaku. The Belgian, Inter’s top goal scorer, slotted the ball home to make the game safe and take Inter’s first win against these opponents since October 2015, going into this weekend’s clash against former champions Juventus

 

Here are the three takeaways from the match:

 

SLUGGISH INTER GET THE JOB DONE

Conte’s men were much the better side in the opening twenty minutes of the match as they scored two well worked goals to peg Roma back. It seemed to be one of the days for the champions, but Roma quickly found a way to halve the deficit before halftime. Following the break, it was all Roma for large periods of time as Inter struggled to get a foothold in the game.

 

 

Fonseca’s side went close on a few occasions but the defending was strong enough to thwart their attempts. With the game winding down and desperate to get back level, Inter scored a third on the counter to wrap up the game and pick up their 15th consecutive home win of the season.

 

ROMA NOT CLINICAL ENOUGH

The away side were aiming to avoid a 10th home defeat of the season, and did manage to haul themselves back into the game through their Armenian ace before the break. Though they had most of the ball in the second half, the final ball left much to be desired. Too often it was finding an Inter head or just being blocked away at the first time.

 

 

Dzeko’s shot was the closest they came to getting back level but it was not to be for Fonseca’s men today. Roma’s defeat was confirmed in the last minute by Lukaku, which means that the club will miss European football altogether for next season when Jose Mourinho arrives to take the reins. 

 

BIG WEEKEND MATCHES

Inter visit the Old Lady on Saturday, with Andrea Pirlo’s men desperate to get back in the Champions League places before the end of the season. Conte’s side show no signs of slowing down after being crowned champions and will be up against a Juventus side who also won tonight. As for Roma, they welcome Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico for the Derby della Capitale.

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