Newly-crowned Serie A champions Inter welcomed Roma to Stadio San Siro, having showed no signs of slowing down since securing their first Scudetto in 11 years.
Antonio Conte’s men were looking to extend their remarkable run of 19 unbeaten games, while Roma had lost all hopes of qualifying for next season Champions League but are still in the race to finish sixth.
Inter stretched their unbeaten run to 20 matches in emphatic style as they crushed the struggling Roma side 3-1 thanks to goals from Marcelo Brozovic, Matias Vecino and Romelu Lukaku.
Roma got off to the better start in the game of the two teams and had more possession in the middle third. Consequently, the first chance of the game belonged to the visitors when Pedro picked up a pass in midfield unchallenged. The Spaniard latched onto the ball, looked up and hit a weak shot from mid-range that drifted wide of the left post.
Despite a more energetic start from the visitors, the Nerazzurri soon showed why they are the best team in Serie A this season. It could be described as typical Inter, as they managed to open the scoring with their first extended spell of possession without dominating the game.
It started with Alexis Sanchez, who received the ball between the lines of Roma’s defense and midfield, played it out wide to Matteo Darmian, with the Italian playing a brilliant low cross into the penalty area to the arriving Marcelo Brozovic. The Croatian international calmly collected the ball just inside the box and gave the goalkeeper no chance with a side-footed shot into the bottom right corner.
Having tasted blood, Inter went on the attack again in the next few minutes. Darmian and Sanchez were the Nerazzurri players at the heart of the action as the pair combined around the Roma penalty area. The Italian played a short pass into the feet of the Chilean, who in turn found Romelu Lukaku. His pass bounced into the path of Vecino but the Uruguayan midfielder did not have much time to adjust his feet and sent his effort wide of the target.
Nonetheless, Inter got rewarded with the following attack. Nicolò Barella played a lofted ball over the Roma back-line to Lukaku, the Belgian expertly received it and laid it off to Vecino who made a late run into the box. The Uruguayan picked his spot and calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner to make it 2-0 to the champions.
Roma managed to pull one goal back against the run of play ten minutes later. Henrikh Mkhitaryan received the ball inside the box, reacted quickly and without any problems fired it into the back of the net.
The start of the second period was as open as most of the first half, with both teams more concerned with the offensive side of the game. Roma seemed to be finding their feet, having more possession and waiting for the right moment to create dangerous attacking opportunities.
Ten minutes after the restart, the visitors finally converted their possession into chances when Edin Dzeko latched onto a pass from Rick Karsdorp, turned well and unleashed a powerful left-footed strike at goal. The effort got past the keeper but smashed against the left post.
Moments later, the Bosnian striker was on the end of action again for Roma. Substitute Stephan El Shaarawy broke through the opposition defense and played the ball to Dzeko, who forced a good save from Andrei Radu as he steered the ball behind for a corner.
Seconds later, the Italian winger received a precise low pass just outside the penalty area, made himself a yard of space and unleashed a shot from distance, but his effort sailed just wide of the right post. Roma continued to press and had another chance when Bryan Cristante got on the end of an inch perfect cross, but his header went just past the right post.
Roma’s relentless pressure was finally broken when Inter launched a splendid counter-attack move, with Achraf Hakimi surging forward from his own half. The Moroccan wing-back carried the ball halfway across the pitch before slipping it into the path of Lukaku, who simply steered it home from close range to make it 3-1.
May 12, 2021 – Serie A 2020-21 Round 36
SCORERS: 11′ Brozovic (I), 20′ Vecino (I), 31′ Mkhitaryan (R), 90′ Lukaku (I)
|INTER (3-5-2): Radu; Skriniar, Ranocchia, D’Ambrosio; Darmian (78′ Young), Barella, Brozovic, Vecino (60′ Sensi), Perisic (60′ Hakimi); Lukaku, Sanchez (38′ Lautaro Martinez; 78′ Pinamonti) (Handanovic, Padelli, de Vrij, Bastoni, Gagliardini, Eriksen) Coach: Conte
|ROMA (4-2-3-1): Fuzato; Karsdorp (88′ Carles Perez), Mancini, Kumbulla, Santon; Darboe (88′ Bruno Peres), Cristante (77′ Villar); Pedro (46′ El Shaarawy), Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko (Farelli, Mirante, Ibanez, Juan Jesus, Reynolds, Pastore, Zalewski, Borja Mayoral) Coach: Fonseca
REFEREE: Mr. Chiffi from Padova
NOTES: Yellow Cards: Darboe, Santon, Kumbulla, Karsdorp (R); Extra Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 3′