Lukaku Cannot Be Stopped: Three Talking Points as Inter Topple Roma

Inter eked out a precious 2-0 win over fierce Serie A top-four rivals Roma at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday late afternoon. Federico Dimarco and Romelu Lukaku were on the scoresheet as the Nerazzurri deepened their hosts’ domestic crisis, consolidating their own Champions League hopes.

A hard-fought first half in the capital saw Inter take the lead through Dimarco, who pounced on Denzel Dumfries’ low cross on the back post to open the scoring in the 33rd minute. Substitute Lukaku put the game to bed midway through the second half with a routine finish. 

While the victory took Inter’s winning streak in Serie A to four matches, Jose Mourinho’s underperformers are winless in four (D2, L2), losing vital ground on the top four in the process. Simone Inzaghi’s team preserved a two-point lead on fifth-placed Milan. On the other hand, Roma now trail Champions League placings by five. 

Let’s look at the three talking points from Saturday’s blockbuster contest in Rome. 

#3 Inter peaking at the best moment

After going winless in five consecutive league matches between March and early April, Inter’s top-four hopes looked seemingly in tatters. However, Inzaghi’s men have since won four straight games by an aggregate score of 14-1, with each victory yielding multi-goal margins. 

While a 6-0 midweek demolition of relegation-battling Hellas Verona could go down as a substantial gulf in quality, triumphs over Lazio and Roma tell a different story. Only last weekend, Inter came from a 1-0 halftime deficit to destroy the Biancocelesti. And now, they stunned another Rome side in their backyard.

With the Champions League semi-final against Milan around the corner and a top-four race in Serie A wide open, Inzaghi’s men have found their feet at the best possible time. 

#2 Roma losing their touch

Not long ago, Roma’s quest to secure a first top-four finish since 2018/19 looked almost in the bag. However, after going winless in three encounters against fellow top-four hopefuls Atalanta, Milan, and Inter, the Giallorossi face the uphill task of returning to the Champions League after a four-year absence. 

Time is ticking out for Mourinho to rally his troops and get their stuttering top-four pursuit back on track. Unfortunately for Roma, they’re no longer masters of their destiny and must hope for the likes of Inter and Milan to drop points down the final stretch. 

However, whether they’re able to hold up their end of the bargain is open for debate. 

#1 Lukaku building a head of steam

After struggling with form and recurring injury problems for most of his loan spell at Giuseppe Meazza, Lukaku has become a central figure in Inter’s resurgence at the tail-end of the 2022/23 campaign. He’s been a beast in recent times, helping the Nerazzurri climb up the ladder in Serie A and reach the Champions League last four for the first time in over a decade.

In his last three league appearances, Lukaku has tallied three goals and as many assists, soaking up the limelight as Inzaghi’s danger man. His recent rise to prominence could make Inter change their minds regarding his stay in Italy, having initially decided against exercising the buyout option in his deal.

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