MILAN – It seems strange to see 0-0 on the scoreboard following Inter vs. Roma, a game which is usually full of goals and a real spectacle. But this is how it did finish, with the Nerazzurri unable to score for the first time this season on their 20th outing in all competitions. It was a tough match, especially from a tactical point of view. Despite it not being an exhilarating affair, Conte’s men will no doubt have a feeling of regret given that they created the biggest chances (at least four big ones) of the game. The Nerazzurri weren’t precise enough and were lacking that bit of fortune, with this ultimately leading to a stalemate. Inter now sit on 38 points after 15 league fixtures, and the team will now turn their attentions to Tuesday’s showdown against Barcelona in the Champions League.
It was a cold night in Milan, but Inter had the warm support of over 67,000 fans in the stands. It was never going to be easy: they were up against a confident and determined side. It was apparent that Fonseca and his 4-2-3-1 formation would be a tough nut to crack early on, with the Giallorossi not willing to give the Nerazzurri an inch from the very start. The beginning of the match saw Fonseca’s side looking to build from the back and Inter trying to gain possession high up the pitch. And at times, the Nerazzurri were able to do this due to mistakes made by the away side. This is what happened as Inter had their first big opportunity of the match: Veretout’s poor ball presented Lukaku with a great opportunity, but Mirante produced a fantastic save to keep out the Belgian striker’s left-footed effort.
Fonseca’s side were moving more, knocking the ball around high up the pitch while searching for a way through as they made the most of the movement from Zaniolo and Mkhitaryan’s runs up the flank. Stefan de Vrij looked for ways to break the deadlock by creating moves from deep positions, a couple of his breaks from the back opened things up for Inter and led to a good left-footed chance for Lautaro in the 32nd minute that went wide. At the end of the half, there were two great opportunities in the Roma box for Vecino and Brozovic. Both benefitted from Roma’s mistakes but neither had enough composure to hit the target from good positions.
In the second half, Inter started on the front foot with Vecino going close again. Mirante made a great save to deny the Uruguayan, who had been picked out well by Borja Valero. After that, the tempo fell off with only isolated chances to score for both sides as the action became bogged down in midfield with little to do for the goalkeepers. Inter aimed to play through the front two, who had to go up against the pace and strength of the Roma centre-backs. In the 68th minute, Lautaro looked to test Mirante but was stopped by a great Spinazzola challenge. The last chance came in the 87th minute as the Argentine couldn’t turn home from Vecino’s low cross. Without creating many problems for Handanovic, Roma were able to leave with an away point.
INTER 0-0 ROMA
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 2 Godin, 6 de Vrij, 37 Skriniar; 87 Candreva (19 Lazaro 48' pt), 8 Vecino, 77 Brozovic, 20 Borja Valero (18 Asamoah 72'), 34 Biraghi (33 D'Ambrosio 88'); 9 Lukaku, 10 Lautaro.
Substitutes: 27 Padelli, 46 Berni, 13 Ranocchia, 16 Politano, 21 Dimarco, 30 Esposito, 32 Agoumé, 95 Bastoni.
Coach: Antonio Conte.
ROMA (4-2-3-1): 83 Mirante; 18 Santon (37 Spinazzola 16'), 23 Mancini, 6 Smalling, 11 Kolarov; 21 Veretout, 42 Diawara; 77 Mkhitaryan (24 Florenzi 89'), 7 Pellegrini, 8 Perotti (9 Dzeko 67'); 22 Zaniolo.
Substitutes: 45 Cardinali, 63 Fuzato, 5 Juan Jesus, 15 Cetin, 17 Under, 19 Kalinic, 48 Antonucci.
Coach: Paulo Fonseca.
Bookings: Godin (I), Lazaro (I), Mancini (R), Brozovic (I)
Stoppage time: 3' - 3'.
Assistants: Alassio, Ranghetti.
Fourth official: Maresca.
VAR and AVAR: Mazzoleni, Paganessi