Inter Milan and AS Roma both failed to cut the gap to AC Milan at the top of the Serie A table with both sides claiming a point in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olimpico on Sunday.
Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Paulo Fonseca’s men the perfect start as his low drive from the edge of the area found the bottom corner midway through the first-half. The visitors reacted after the break though, with Milan Skriniar nodding in from a corner shortly after half-time before Achraf Hakimi completed the turnaround with a stunning goal. Roma managed to hit back late on though, Gianluca Mancini nodding home minutes before the final whistle to see a share of the points.
Here are three things we learned from the Stadio Olimipico:
Visitors fail to make dominance pay
Inter will be hugely disappointed that they did not manage to claim three points, departing with a somewhat unjust point from the capital. Antonio Conte’s men were dominant throughout the majority of the clash and were somewhat good value for all three. Before the hosts’ equaliser, Inter looked like they were going to claim victory and somewhat of a comfortable one having produced most of the clear cut opportunities.
The visitors should have had the game sewn up long before Roma found their equaliser, having as many as 17 efforts on goal but only striking with two of them. This wastefulness is usually not a problem for Inter put it really made them suffer on Sunday.
Roma indebted to Lopez
The reason behind Inter’s poor form in front of goal though was not exclusively down to poor finishing. Roma keeper Pau Lopez also had a lot to say, not enabling the visitors to extend their advantage any further.
Had it not been for the Spaniard, who produced a number of important stops to deny the visitors, Inter could well have found the net more. In particular, Lopez had to stop efforts from Lautaro Martinez on three occasions, whilst he also had to parry away a powerful shot from Romelu Lukaku.
He couldn’t do anything for either of Inter’s two strikes that did eventually find the back of the net but he was still a key reason behind Roma claiming a valuable point.
Serie A now tighter than ever
Of course, both sides would have loved to have claimed maximum points and continue their push for a long-awaited Serie A crown. It’s Inter who have been impacted most by Roma’s equaliser, with them now dropping five points in their last two matches following the defeat to Sampdoria. It also means that AC Milan sit three points clear at the top and look the best bet to continue their great form and claim the trophy.
However, the draw in Rome has seen the table become more congested than ever, with as many as five sides now in contention for the title. Should Atalanta and Juventus win their respective games in hand, there will be just six points separating first and fifth in the standings. With the season now approaching its halfway stage, the title race really should be an encapsulating watch for supporters.
Inter can be backed at a price of 7/4 with the Betfair exchange to win the title come the end of the season, whilst Roma are less fancied at 69/5.
AS Roma: Lopez (7); Ibanez (6), Smalling (6), Mancini (7); Spinazzola (6) (Peres (6), 73′), Veretout (7), Villar (6), Karsdorp (6); Mkhitaryan (7), Pellegrini (7), Dzeko (6) (Mayoral (N/A), 89′).
Inter Milan: Handanovic (6); Bastoni (6), de Vrij (6), Skriniar (7); Darmian (6) (Young (6), 34′), Vidal (7) (Gagliardini (N/A), 82′), Brozovic (7), Barella (7), Hakimi (7) (Kolarov (N/A), 82′); Lukaku (6), Martinez (7) (Perisic (N/A), 77′).
Goals: Pellegrini (17′), Skriniar (56′), Hakimi (63′), Mancini (86′)
Referee: Marco Di Bello
Yellow Cards: Lukaku (43′), Smalling (45+1′), Mancini (65′), Villar (76′), Perisic (90+5′)
Red Cards: N/A