Roma beat Inter 2-1 away from home after recovering from a goal down to move into the top four of Serie A.
Inter thought they had opened the scoring when Lautaro Martinez slipped a pass to Edin Dzeko on the edge of the box, but VAR overruled the goal to deny the Bosnian veteran.
The first goal came after 30 minutes when Nicolo Barella drifted inside and rolled a pass to the unmarked Federico Dimarco. The wing-back scuffed his shot, but beat Rui Patricio all the same.
Inter briefly took complete control, forcing Roma back towards their goal, but could not increase their advantage.
Paulo Dybala missed a huge chance in the 38th minute, but made amends less than a minute later when he volleyed Leonardo Spinazzola’s cross beyond the sprawling Samir Handanovic.
Then it was Roma’s turn to dominate, but the sides were level when the break came.
With half an hour to play, Dybala was forced off following a collision with Lautaro in midfield.
Hakan Calhanoglu struck a beautiful free kick off the post. Kristjan Asllani whipped a shot inches wide.
With 12 minutes to go, Chris Smalling beat everyone to a Lorenzo Pellegrini free kick and headed Roma into the lead. VAR once more intervened, but this time the goal stood.
Inter made a host of changes as they chased the game, but Roma held on for an important victory.
TALKING POINT – SHOULD MOURINHO HAVE BEEN MORE ATTACKING?
Inter Milan’s confidence is evidently fragile. When Roma got their second goal and began playing with more freedom, they were easily able to work through Inter’s midfield and carve out chances. By contrast, when they sat back in the first half and invited pressure, the home side were able to play with confidence. With more luck, Inter could have been two or three goals ahead before Roma really got started. Had the visitors started with one of Tammy Abraham or Andrea Belotti, they would have been better able to break Inter’s attacking dominance with an out ball.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Chris Smalling was brilliant for Roma against Inter. Jose Mourinho has the former England centre back playing exactly the role which best suits his talents and his confidence was evident throughout an impressive match.
When Inter dominated during the first half, Smalling was the last line of defence. Smalling’s seven clearances were more than the combined efforts of both of his centre back partners. He got the winner with a smart header, judging perfectly the flight of the cross. As Inter poured forward late in the match, Smalling headed a certain goal clear to preserve Roma’s lead.
Inter: Handanovic 7, Skriniar 7, Acerbi 7, Bastoniv 6, Dumfries 6, Barella 7, Asllani 6, Calhanoglu 6, Dimarco 7, Dzeko 7, Martinez 7. Subs: Correa 6, Mkhitaryan 4, Gosens N/A, Bellanova 6,
Roma: Patricio 6, Mancini 5, Smalling 8, Ibanez 7, Celik 6, Cristante 6, Matic 7, Spinazzola 7, Pellegrini 6, Zaniolo 6, Dybala 7. Subs: Camara N/A, Belotti 6, Abraham 7
11′ GOAL INTER Inter wouldn’t give up on that chance. Roma twice cleared the ball from their box, but eventually a clever touch from Lautaro finds Edin Dzeko on the edge of the box. Dzeko uses his strength to turn in the box and roll his shot into the bottom corner.
12′ GOAL CANCELLED Dzeko’s goal is ruled out by VAR due to an offside in the build-up. Real confusion for the players there, who had already lined up for the kick off.
30′ GOAL INTER This time it won’t be ruled out. Inter take the lead as Federico Dimarco runs onto a neat Barella pass on the edge of the Roma box and slips his shot into the bottom corner.
39′ GOAL ROMA Moments after wasting a golden chance, Paulo Dybala drifts away from his marker on the right edge of the box, and smashes a volley past the diving Handanovic.
63′ CALHANOGLU OFF THE POST A brilliant free kick clangs back off the post as Inter go about as close as you can to retaking the lead.
75′ GOAL ROMA A huge header from Chris Smalling puts the away side into the lead for the first time. Pellegrini’s ball in was magnificent, but any of three Roma players could have got the decisive touch as Inter’s defence disappeared.