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March 1, 2014
• Stadio Olimpico, Roma
Referee: M. Bergonzi
• Attendance: 37464
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. Thank you for joining me and have a great night.
Inter could now see themselves drop out of the European qualification places should results go against them tomorrow. There is still plenty of work for Mazzarri to do this season.
FULL TIME - Roma 0-0 Inter: A rather underwhelming game comes to a close with neither side capable of finding the scoresheet. Goal-scoring chances were at a premium throughout, as Roma missed the chance to close the gap on Juve to just six points.
90' + 4'
The final whistle is blown!
90' + 2'
Some lovely, intricate play from Inter on the edge of the box almost forges a sublime chance for Palacio but the final pass to the Argentine is a little too far behind him.
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional four minutes.
Inter take a short corner and Botta has time to bend in a teasing cross. He makes a real hash of it, though, sending his delivery high behind the goal.
Zanetti enters the fray for the final moments, with Mazzarri clearly looking to try and sure things up and settle for the point. However, that won't be enough to ensure Inter remain in fifth this weekend as it would be possible for Hellas Verona to leapfrog them.
Romagnoli is down inside the penalty area following a Roma corner and De Rossi really isn't happy about the decision not to award a free kick. It looks like there may have been an altercation with Juan that was not noticed by the officials.
Inter are falling short of ideas in the final third as Hernanes lets fly with an ambitious effort from distance. It was never worrying De Sanctis, who watches it whistle wide.
Roma are dangerously close to passing up this great opportunity to close the gap on Juventus. Failure to win tonight could see the Bianconeri open up a double-digit point advantage tomorrow.
WELL OVER! Guarin shows his frustration at a lack of options by thrashing a careless shot miles off target from 25 yards out. His team-mates aren't happy with that!
Botta drills a cutback into the boc which looks to be heading for Guarin, however, Strootman is back to make an important interception and clear away the danger.
Things are starting to become a little stretched now, with the action becoming more end-to-end. With such spaces opening up there is every chance we could see a late winner here.
Gervinho races around the outside of Juan to get into a fantastic crossing area. He cuts the ball back towards the penalty spot but again fails to pick out a team-mate. It hasn't been the Ivorian's night so far.
Pjanic gets his head to the resultant corner but he is unable to direct it on target. The Giallorossi have certainly been the better side in this half.
STUNNING SAVE! Nainggolan does superbly to get away from his marker and open up the midfield. He feeds Pjanic in space inside the box and the Bosnian's arrow of a shot is parried behind by Handanovic. Great goalkeeping keeps it all square.
GERVINHO! The Ivorian thumps a powerful, driven effort towards goal but he aims it straight into the arms of Handanovic.
CLOSE!! Palacio nods a cross down at the back post but De Rossi just about manages to hook the ball to safety with Nagatomo streaming in to add the finish.
De Sanctis spills the ball from a cross but is let off the hook as the referee blows his whistle and wards the hosts a foul for Icardi's challenge on the keeper.
JUST OVER! Nainggolan looks to bend a shot into the top corner from 25 yards out, but his shot lacks the dip to test the keeper. It had plenty of power behind it, mind.
GREAT INTERCEPTION! Rolando gets an important foot to a cross from the right, denying Gervinho what surely would have been a simple finish at the back post.
Cambiasso steals the ball away from De Rossi in the centre circle and immediately feeds Palacio. The Argentine looks for his compatriot, Icardi, but he fails to beat Castan in a foot race down towards the byeline.
Plenty of boos for Hernanes, the former Lazio man, as he comes on to replace the impressive Alvarez.
Nainggolan comes out to the right and sends a high cross into the area. Destro is the only man in the box and he makes no attempt to get on the end of it, so Handanovic claims it unchallenged.
Pjanic tries to do too much as he dribbles into the box and ends up losing his footing. Guarin keeps it in play and narrowly skips away from the Bosnian's challenge before clearing the danger properly.
Well we've almost played an hour now and still neither goal keeper has been truly tested. That is a little disappointing, but hopefully the final thirty minutes can make up for it!
This is better from Roma! Torosidis pushes forward for the first time this evening and his low cross is sent behind for a corner by Nagatomo.
Samuel keeps pace with Destro and times his tackle astutely to turn the ball behind for a corner. It is flung into the box but again the referee blows for a foul as the players jostle for position.
Rudi Garcia has decided to replace Ljajic with Pjanic. The Bosnian will likely play in a more central role in an attempt to stop the visitors from controlling possession in large parts.
The game is becoming a bit scrappy now, with a number of passes being mislaid. It is perhaps epitmoside by Strootman's attempted pass out wide which bounces off the referee and to the feet of an Inter player.
Roma break at rapid speed from an Inter corner and Gervinho dribbles into the area. He lays a cutback on for the onrushing Strootman but he puts his pass behind the Dutchman and the visitors are able to come away with the ball.
Strootman's shirt is ripped as a result. He goes of and for some reason tries to get it taped up rather than put a new one on. It keeps him off the field for a little longer but he eventually returns.
Yellow Card Walter Samuel
Samuel picks up a booking for holding back Strootman as Roma looked to break. He will miss Inter's next match at home to Torino because of that.
Romagnoli concedes a needless corner as he slices Alvarez's cross behind his own goal. It is Inter's fourth corner of the night. Roma, meanwhile, are yet to have one.
Inter get the second half underway!
Welcome back! The players are making their way back out onto the pitch so the second half will begin shortly.
HALF TIME - Roma 0-0 Inter: It has been an evenly-contested first half, with both teams having chances to break the deadlock. The Nerazzurri have perhaps shaded it, but neither side has showed a clinical touch in the final third. Hopefully we will see an improvement on that in the second half! Be sure to stay tuned for it.
There is no time added on and the referee brings the first half to a close.
Destro attempts to bring down a cross inside the box but he puts his foot in too high on Juan and the referee awards the visitors a free kick. He looks shocked by the decision and I have no idea why, it was quite a dangerous challenge.
Excellent block from Castan! The Brazilian slides to ground at the byeline to stop Jonathan's cross from getting into the congested centre of the box. He gets up and celebrates it, and rightly so.
Claims for a penalty as De Rossi goes to ground just inside the box but the referee is unmoved. Signs of frustration from the home fans starting to creep in.
Roma finally push forward and relieve the pressure on the defence with a quick break. Nainggolan picks out Destro inside the area but he is unable to dig out a shot and eventually the ball gets away from him.
De Rossi is getting pretty fired up as he feels the referee's decisions are going against his side. The official is not afraid to get clost to the Italy international, though, and hands him off as he looks to calm him down. Physical refereeing!
Palacio skips away from De Rossi on the right and is brought to ground by the Giallorossi captain. Another chance for Inter to swing the ball into a dangerous area.
Guarin comes out to the right and drives a low cross into the box. Castan positions himself well, though, and angles it back out to safety.
GOAL... no, it's been ruled out! Nainggolan connects with a diving header in the box and Destro steers it onto the post with his foot. The ricochet hits Handanovic and bounces into the back of the net, but the striker is ajudged offside from the Belgian's header. It is the correct decision.
That is poor from Destro! The striker gets a rare touch on the ball this evening but he passes straight to Alvarez. Not the best of nights for him so far.
An incisive pass from Jonathan picks out Palacio outside the box but the Argentine's touch deserts him and Roma's defence are able to halt the attack.
Icardi's movement has been very bright so far tonight. Again the Argentine peels away from his marker but the long ball from Guarin is slightly overhit and goes out of play. Nevertheless, he is proving a real handful.
OVER THE TOP! More impressive football from the visitors as Guarin clips a lovely cross for Nagatomo at the back post, however, the Japanese blazes his volley miles off target. The Nerazzurri are starting to take control of this match now.
WASTED! Benatia is caught out of position and Alvarez runs into the vacated space and receives the ball. He sprints to the byeline but his cutback is deflected to the far post, where Guarin fails to control it closely enough and subsequently lashes the ball harmlessly over the top.
Well read by Juan as he steps in to make an important interception with Roma looking to penetrate the final third. He's had a very composed start to the game.
No side is really in control of this game, but Roma have faded following a bright start and Inter appear to have the upper hand in terms of possession now. Perhaps Rudi Garcia wants to encourage them to come forward and exploit space against the back three on the break.
STAT: Roma have won five of their last six matches against Inter in all competitions.
PALACIO!! The Argentine has a free header from eight yards out but he is unable to steer Alvarez's cross on target, instead looping it over the top of De Sanctis' net. That was their best chance so far!
Inter fail to make the most of it, as Samuel pushes De Rossi to ground as he goes to contest a header. The referee has been particularly clean to blow for contact such as that in the box already this evening.
Free kick to Inter down by the corner flag. The assistant referee behind the goal signals that Castan has fouled Icardi by the byeline. The centre-back protests, but the visitors are awarded a great opportunity to get the ball in the box.
WIDE! Rolando strides forward from the back and clips a great diagonal ball into Icardi in the middle. He gets away from Benatia but has to stretch for the volley and is therefore unable to guide his shot on target. Still, brilliant movement from the Argentine.
Nagatomo miscontrols a pass from Alvarez, though it wasn't the best of balls, and Torosidis pounces. The Greek manages to round his opponent but his second touch allows the Japanese to get a foot in and come away with the ball.
STAT: The Nerazzurri's last win away at Roma in the league came back in October 2008, when a Zlatan Ibrahimovic double inspired an Inter side including current Giallorossi defender Maicon to a 4-0 win.
WHAT A CHANCE!! Nainggolan picks out Ljajic on the left with a sublime, raking pass. The winger beats Jonathan and makes his way into the area before lashing a low cross into the centre. However, he fails to find a team-mate and the ball rolls out for a throw on the far side. He ought to have done better there.
Roma's wingers are going to need to track back regularly if their team cannot retain possession tonight, as Inter's wing-backs will be keen to push on and put the hosts under pressure. Similarly, the Nerazzurri defence need to be sure not to leave too much space for the wingers to operate in.
GOOD SAVE!! Gervinho makes a clever run behind the defence and volleys De Rossi's long ball towards the bottom corner. He does so on the spin and struggles to generate enough power to direct his effort past Handanovic, who holds the ball.
Palacio and Icardi look to combine with the former picking out the latter at the top of the box. He continues his run but is unable to bundle his way through the defence and get a shot away from 18 yards out.
LJAJIC! The Serbian bends a decent effort towards goal from the free kick but he aims it too close to Handanovic, who punches the ball to safety. A decent start for Roma, though.
Gervinho spins Rolando and races in field from the left. In his attempts to get alongside him, the Portuguese applies too much pressure to the Ivorian's shoulder and the referee awards a free kick 30 yards from goal.
We are underway at Stadio Olimpico!
The Roma fans are in good voice this evening as they welcome the sides onto the pitch. Lets hope for a game to match the tremendous atmosphere.
We've only got about five minutes left to go in a very important game for both sides. Their respective aspirations for the season could be dealt a severe blow or handed a real boost this evening. Plenty at stake for both Rudi Garcia and Walter Mazzarri, then, and it should make for a real cracker.
Inter's win away at Fiorentina a fortnight ago ended a run of four consecutive defeats on the road in Serie A. Victory tonight could see them move to within two points of the Viola, but for it to be permanent they would also need a favour from Lazio, who face Vicenzo Montella's men tomorrow.
Mauro Icardi came on from the bench to assist Rolando's equaliser against Cagliari last weekend and he is subsequently awarded a starting berth at the expense of Diego Milito. Walter Mazzarri's only other change sees Esteban Cambiasso replace Zdravko Kuzmanovic.
Dodo, Maicon and Federico Balzaretti are all out with injury and Alessio Romagnoli is again preferred to Michel Bastos at left-back for the hosts. Alessandro Florenzi drops to the bench with Adem Ljajic operating from the right and Kevin Strootman replaces Miralem Pjanic in midfield.
Inter substitutes: Carrizo, Ranocchia, Campagnaro, D'Ambrosio, Zanetti, Andreolli, Hernanes, Kovacic, Kuzmanovic, Botta, Taider, Milito.
Inter (3-5-2): Handanovic; Rolando, Samuel, Juan; Jonathan, Guarin, Cambiasso, Alvarez, Nagatomo; Palacio, Icardi.
Roma substitutes: Lobont, Skorupski, Toloi, Taddei, Pjanic, Bastos, Florenzi, Ricci, Mazzitelli, Di Mariano.
Roma (4-3-3): De Sanctis; Torosidis, Benatia, Castan, Romagnoli; Nainggola, De Rossi, Strootman; Ljajic, Destro, Gervinho.
Roma have won 11 of their last 13 matches at the Stadio Olimpico in Serie A. They are yet to taste defeat on their own patch so far this campaign and have conceded just twice in the process. Fairly formidable form, but they cannot count on Francesco Totti - who played an integral role in the club from the capital's 3-0 win over the Nerazzurri at San Siro earlier this season - tonight. Full line-ups coming up.
Hello and welcome to this evening's LIVE play-by-play commentary on the Serie A encounter between title-chasing Roma and European hopefuls Inter, at Stadio Olimpico. The Giallorossi can temporarily cut Juventus' advantage at the summit to just six points tonight, though the Bianconeri face AC Milan tomorrow evening. My name is Tom Webber and I will be guiding you through what promises to be a fantastic fixture.
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