ROMA - Inter sailed to a 3-0 victory over Roma this Saturday evening with an impressive performance at the Stadio Olimpico. It was a happy return to the capital for Edin Dzeko, who had plundered many goals in his time with the Giallorossi, finding the second in tonight’s game.
The Nerazzurri now sit just one point behind city rivals in the league standings after 16 matchdays played. A positive result ahead of their crucial Champions League Group D fixture in Madrid, a match which will decide whether it will be Inter or Real who finish top.
This Roma v Inter game had an element of nostalgia to it. Simone Inzaghi and Joaquin Correa were back on their old stomping ground where they had represented Lazio, while Edin Dzeko was returning to a place filled with happy memories, having plundered over 100 goals for the Giallorossi. Not to mention Jose Mourinho – facing the club he had won the historic treble with back in 2010. Yet sentimentality aside, Inter had a task on their hands – to not let up in their fight for the league title, while keeping half an eye on the Real Madrid game on Tuesday.
The game was over by half time. Roma were unable to muster anything to give Inter a scare after the break, with the only negative to come from the evening being Correa’s injury. Calhanoglu opened the scoring with a goal from a corner kick, before Edin Dzeko doubled the visitors lead with a lovely 20-pass team move. Denzel Dumfries rounding off the scoring with a strike just before the break, his first for the club. At no point in proceedings was the result in any doubt.
Inzaghi’s notable team selections included opting for Danilo D'Ambrosio in defence alongside Alessandro Bastoni, selecting Nicolo Barella in midfield and fielding Joaquin Correa again alongside Dzeko in attack. Mourinho’s Roma were down to the bare bones, missing key figures such as Lorenzo Pellegrini, Rick Karsdorp, Tammy Abraham, and Stephan El Shaarawy. The Portuguese coach went for a 3-5-2 with Roger Ibanez and Matias Vina on the flanks and Chris Smalling marshalling the defence.
The game started fairly openly, with Inter knitting some neat moves together and Roma electing for direct play, with Vina threatening and Nicolo Zaniolo posing problems in attack. Yet Inter drew first blood after 15 minutes. Hakan Calhanoglu, in a rich vein of form, managed to bamboozle Rui Patricio with a devilishly whipped corner kick which found its way past the Portuguese goalkeeper. A poor start for an already depleted Roma, and a goal which served to drive the Nerazzurri forward. Simone Inzaghi’s side displayed their all-round game, knowing when to up the tempo and when to hold back ready to strike.
If the goal in the 15th minute was a blow to Roma’s morale then Dzeko’s goal in the 24th minute further rubbed salt into their wounds. The Bosnian finished off a wonderful team move involving 20 passes, with Calhanoglu once involved in a goal, providing the final touch to Dzeko who finished expertly with his left. The 35-year-old nearly claimed a second a few minutes later but was denied by a Patricio stop.
Roma were largely restricted to counter attacking and Inter were perhaps a bit naïve at times with the space they afforded the Giallorossi. In the 37th minute Dumfries made a vital intervention from a shot by Vina, before going up the other end two minutes later to open his goalscoring account for the Nerazzurri. It was the ever-effective Bastoni who provided the assist this time around, marauding down the left before whipping it in to an onrushing Dumfries who headed home. Half time, 3-0, job done.
The second half was an exercise in holding onto the ball, containing Roma, and not giving them the faintest sniff of getting back into the game. The home side were bereft of ideas and unable to conjure up anything which posed Inter any worries. Marcelo Brozovic showed his orchestral qualities from the centre of the field, pulling all of the strings and managing the pace of the match to a tee.
The only bit of excitement for Roma fans was a Zaniolo shot which rippled the side netting, giving the fans present at the Olimpico the impression that it had gone in. As for Inter, the only downside from Saturday evening’s victory came in the form of an injury to Correa, who left the pitch in tears. The visitors then made a host of substitutions and comfortably saw out the match. All eyes now turn to Tuesday evening’s clash with Real Madrid.
Roma 0-3 Inter (HT 0-3)
Scorers: 15 Calhanoglu (I), 24 Dzeko (I), 39 Dumfries (I)
ROMA (3-5-2): 1 Rui Patricio; 23 Mancini, 6 Smalling, 24 Kumbulla (52 Bove 61); 3 Ibanez, 17 Veretout (62 Volpato 91), 4 Cristante, 77 Mkhitaryan, 5 Vina; 22 Zaniolo, 14 Shomurodov.
Unused substitutes: 87 Fuzato, 63 Boer, 8 Villar, 13 Calafiori, 19 Reynolds, 21 Mayoral, 42 Diawara, 55 Darboe, 59 Zalewski, 60 Ndiaye.
Coach: Jose Mourinho.
INTER (3-5-2): 1 Handanovic; 33 D'Ambrosio, 37 Skriniar, 95 Bastoni (32 Dimarco 76); 2 Dumfries, 23 Barella (22 Vidal 59), 77 Brozovic, 20 Calhanoglu (12 Sensi 84), 14 Perisic; 9 Dzeko (8 Vecino 76), 19 Correa (7 Sanchez 59).
Unused substitutes: 21 Cordaz, 97 Radu, 5 Gagliardini, 10 Lautaro, 43 Cortinovis, 46 Zanotti, 47 Carboni.
Coach: Simone Inzaghi.
Booked: Ibanez (R), Barella (I), Mancini (R), Zaniolo (R)
Referee: Di Bello.
Assistants: Palermo, Perrotti.
Fourth official: Camplone.
VAR: Massa, Alassio.