Inter missed an opportunity to move up to second in the Serie A table after drawing 2-2 against Roma on Sunday evening.
?Both sides looked lively in the final third early on and the two keepers were kept busy, but it took until the 36th minute for the deadlock to be broken. Keita Balde found some space in the Roma box and latched on to a dangerous cross from Danilo D’Ambrosio to poke the ball beyond Robin Olsen.
Samir Handanovic, who had been enjoying a stellar half, then kept his side ahead just before the break with a stunning save from an Aleksandar Kolarov free-kick.
Five minutes after the interval, Cengiz Under produced a piece of magic to draw Roma level. This time around Handanovic could do nothing to prevent the ball from finding the back of the net, as the Turkish forward unleashed a terrific long range effort that nestled into the far corner.
Inter appeared to be stunned by that goal, but they were able to regain their composure and put themselves back in the driving seat 15 minutes later. ?Mauro Icardi was left unmarked in the Roma box for a corner and the Argentinean striker didn’t need a second invitation to head the ball home.
However, that lead lasted just seven minutes before Roma equalised for the second time. Following a VAR referral, Roma were awarded a penalty for a Marcelo Brozovic handball and Kolarov duly tucked the spot-kick home.
The game opened up and both sides began to push for a winner, but the points ended up being shared after the defences held firm.
Starting XI: Olsen (7); Santon (6), Manolas (6), Juan Jesus (4), Kolarov (6); Nzonzi (6), Cristante (6), Florenzi (6), Zaniolo (7); Under (7), Schick (5).
Substitutes: Kluivert (6), Perotti (5), Pastore (N/A).
Key Talking Point
Considering the fact that Roma are currently enduring a serious injury crisis, ?Inter would have been expecting to come away from the Stadio Olimpico with all three points.
However, the Nerazzurri were far from convincing for large portions of the game and they had to rely on Handanovic to keep them in contention – particularly during the first half. The fact that they led on two separate occasions makes matters even worse for Luciano Spalletti’s side.
With Juventus slowly disappearing at the top of the ?Serie A table, Inter’s clash with the Old Lady on Friday could make or break their season. A defeat there would all but end their title aspirations.
Starting XI: Handanovic (8*); D’Ambrosio (7), De Vrij (6), Skriniar (6), Asamoah (6); Valero (6), Brozovic (5); Perisic (5), Joao Mario (6), Balde (7); Icardi (7).
Substitutes: Politano (5), Vecino (5), Martinez (6).
Star Man – Samir Handanovic
It is fair to say that, without Handanovic in goal, Inter could have been dead and buried before the end of the first half.
The Slovenian keeper has received a fair bit of criticism for his inconsistent performances so far this season, but he was at his best against Roma. He pulled off a handful of top saves that exemplified his acrobatic abilities and commanded his box brilliantly throughout. When he’s on his game, there are few better keepers in European football.
Handanovic on his day is an absolute monster!!! Unbeatable.
— Tarek Matar (@tmatar7) December 2, 2018
Worst Player – Ivan Perisic
?Ivan Perisic has been struggling for form recently and once again he was uncharacteristically poor for Inter.
In fairness he was playing slightly out of position for the first hour of the match, but that does not excuse some of the rudimentary mistakes he was making with the ball at his feet. A short break from first-team action may do him and Inter a world of good.
Inter will now be preparing for a huge clash against league-leaders ?Juventus on Friday evening, before their final Champions League group match against PSV Eindhoven.