In a showdown between two Italian heavyweights who are dreaming of the chance to book a top-four finish, Inter Milan secured an eye-catching 2-0 victory away at Roma on Saturday evening.
Opening the scoring 12 minutes before the half-time break through Italian defender Federico Dimarco, the Nerazzurri certainly didn’t look back as they extended their domestic winning run to five appearances on the bounce.
Skyrocketing their way into the top-four and only continuing to shine since returning from March’s international break, it was Romelu Lukaku who eventually secured all three points as the Chelsea-loanee notched his ninth goal in his last 12 outings for club and country.
Watching their Champions League ambitions receive a major boost at the Stadio Olimpico, Simone Inzaghi’s side also crashed in on a Roma squad who are enduring another Serie A wobble.
Putting in a toothless display here and continuing to slip away from the European chase, Jose Mourinho’s side are now without a win from any of their last four top-flight appearances and their own top-four dreams took what could be a critical blow.
In what could prove to have been a season-defining contest in Rome, we have taken a look at the key talking points from Saturday’s Serie A showdown.
Inter have certainly found top gear at a crucial time
Making the trip to Rome on Saturday evening after storming their way to a 6-0 romp away at Verona, it was no secret that Inter Milan were looking to make another Serie A statement here.
Making history on April 19th as they stormed their way to the Champions League semi-finals thanks to a 5-3 aggregate victory against Benfica, the former Italian champions have certainly hit top gear at a crucial time.
Skyrocketing into the top-four following Saturday’s deserved 2-0 win, Inzaghi’s side will now have a silver medal finish at the top of their agenda over the final few weeks.
Signing off April with another stellar display as they clinched a 3-1 victory at home against Lazio, Inter have now won each of their last five domestic appearances across all formats and they are undeniably enjoying their brightest top-flight run of the season.
Picking up a Coppa Italia first-leg win when they welcomed Juventus to the San Siro on April 26th, Inzaghi’s high-flying squad still have plenty left to play for.
Winning each of their five domestic outings by an aggregate score of 15-1, some in Inter’s camp will be wondering were these performances were earlier in the year.
The final nail in Roma’s top-four coffin
While Roma might have punched their Europa League semi-final ticket last month as they claimed an action-packed 4-2 aggregate victory against Feyenoord, Mourinho’s side have gained a reputation for their domestic inconstancies this season.
Although Saturday’s hosts might have marked their return from March’s international break with their sights firmly set on clinching a Champions League return, the ex-Manchester United boss has seen his side come crashing back down to earth over the past few weeks.
Putting in another downbeat display at the Stadio Olimpico, Roma have now failed to win any of their last four straight Serie A appearances – their longest winless run since opening 2023.
With their recent issues highlighted by a 3-1 drumming away at Atalanta on April 24th, Mourinho’s side will now be seeking a minor miracle in the top-four chase.
Forced to settle for a 1-1 draw away at Monza last weekend, the Giallorossi end Saturday’s fixtures sat five points adrift of the Champions League places and with just a quartet of Serie A appearances left this season.
Lukaku is getting back to his best
While there might still remain plenty of speculation surrounding Lukaku’s future at the San Siro past this summer, it does appear that the Chelsea-loanee is getting back to his clinical best.
Although the one-time Manchester United striker might have dealt with some extended injury issues since returning to Inter Milan on a season-long switch, the 29-year-old has underlined why he still remains one of Europe’s elite number nines.
Handed a full return at the Stadio Olimpico after being handed a rest in Inter’s 6-0 romp away at Verona on May 3rd, Lukaku caused Roma a host of problems here and was more than deserving of his 74th-minute strike.
With many suggesting that the Belgian ace wants to make his return to the San Siro a permanent switch this summer, Lukaku has certainly hit the ground running since March’s international break.
Now notching nine goals in his last 12 appearances for club and country, there will be many Chelsea fans back in west London who will be desperate to see Lukaku handed a second chance in SW6 ahead of the 2023/24 campaign.
Roma: Patricio, Mancini, Cristante, Ibanez, Zalewski, Camara, Matic, Bove, Spinazzola, Pellegrini, Belotti
Subs: Abraham, Dybala, Pisilli, Missori, Tahirovic
Inter Milan: Onana, Darmian, Acerbi, Bastoni, Dimarco, Calhanoglu, Brozovic, Barella, Dumfries, Correa, Lukaku
Subs: Bellanova, De Vrij, Mkhitaryan, Martinez, Gagliardini
Goals: Dimarco (33’), Lukaku (74’)
Yellow Cards: Roma: Mancini, Pellegrini, Spinazzola – Inter Milan: Gagliardini, Martinez
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Fabio Maresca
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