In a showdown between two of Italy’s most iconic clubs on Saturday evening, Inter Milan put on a stunning first-half display as they cruised their way to a 3-0 win against Roma.
Laying down a real marker to their bitter local rivals, the Nerazzurri now find themselves in the midst of a stellar purple patch as they managed to leapfrog Napoli to second spot.
Underlying why many across Italy have tipped them as a leading pick to make it back-to-back Serie A titles this season, Inter also pilled more pressure onto Jose Mourinho’s shoulders.
Breezing past their former boss on what will be remembered as a famous victory in Rome, we have taken a look at the major talking points from Saturday’s meeting.
Inter’s first-half masterclass
Making the trip to the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday after landing a routine 2-0 win against Spezia earlier in the week, there is no doubt that Inter Milan were smelling the chance to lay down another marker on the road.
Doing all of the early running and not giving Roma a second to breathe, it took the Nerazzurri just 15 minutes to open the scoring as Turkish international Hakan Çalhanoğlu saw his corner beat everyone and go directly in at the far post.
In no mood to simply sit back and protect their early lead, Simone Inzaghi’s men produced a scintillating move midway through the first-half as former Roma skipper Edin Dzeko swept his effort into the roof of the net.
Limiting Roma to just 31% possession in the first-half and backed by a vocal travelling support on Saturday evening, Inter wrapped up all three points five minutes before the break as another of their summer arrivals got on the scoresheet.
Putting in a hugely impressive performance at both ends of the pitch, Denzel Dumfries powered his header past Rui Patricio to complete what was a stunning display away from the San Siro.
Now unbeaten in each of their last nine meetings against Saturday’s hosts, Inter really couldn’t have wished for a better evening on the road.
Pressure on Jose?
Putting in a toothless display earlier in the week as they were hit with a shock 1-0 defeat against Bologna on their travels, it appears that there could be some growing pressure on Jose Mourinho’s shoulders.
While the former Manchester United boss might have only made his return to Italy over the summer, Roma largely failed to get out of second gear on Saturday evening as they suffered a first-half nightmare in front of their own supporters.
With some sections of the Stadio Olimpico crowd making their feelings heard at the final whistle, Mourinho also had more criticism for his side on what has been a difficult week for the Serie A strugglers.
In fact, offering very little in the final third and unable to call upon England international Tammy Abraham who was serving a suspension, Saturday’s drumming also matched an unwanted record for Roma’s 58-year-old boss.
Hit with a 3-0 defeat against the defending champions, result equals the biggest home defeat Mourinho has suffered as a manager – along with Manchester United’s 3-0 Premier League loss against Tottenham at Old Trafford back in 2017.
It also means Roma have lost as many as 16 Serie A matches in a single calendar year for the first time since the 20 they suffered in 1950.
Can Inter make it back-to-back Serie A titles?
Watching both Antonio Conte and Romelu Lukaku leave the San Siro over the summer, many across Italy thought that Inter Milan would have had little chance of reclaiming their domestic crown this season.
Ending their decade wait as they lifted the Serie A title earlier in the year, new boss Inzaghi now finds himself firmly battling it out at the top of the table.
Booking their spot in the knockout stage of this year’s Champions League with time to spare, the Nerazzurri now sit just a single point adrift of their bitter local rivals.
Helped by Napoli’s action-packed 3-2 defeat against Atalanta on Saturday night, Inter’s performance at the Stadio Olimpico will only keep the mood in their camp at a red-hot high.
Enjoying a five-match winning run across all competitions, Inzaghi’s men will be next seen in midweek when they sign off their European group stage run away at Real Madrid.
Roma: Patricio, Mancini, Smalling, Kumbulla, Cristante, Veretout, Mkhitaryan, Vina, Ibañez, Zaniolo, Shomurodov
Subs: Bove, Volpato
Inter Milan: Handanovic, D’Ambrosio, Skriniar, Bastoni, Dumfries, Barella, Brozovic, Calhanoglu, Perisic, Dzeko, Correa
Subs: Vidal, Dimarco, Sensi, Sanchez, Vecino
Goals: Calhanoglu 15′, Dzeko 24′, Dumfries 39′
Yellow Cards: Roma: Kumbulla, Mancini, Zaniolo – Inter Milan: Barella
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Marco Di Bello