Roma 2-1 Inter: Superb Giallorossi Edge Enthralling Encounter To Cut Nerazzurri's Lead To One Point

The Giallorossi gave a stunning performance to beat the league leaders in Rome...
Serie A Fixtures, Results

Roma cut Inter's lead at the top of the table to one point with a masterful victory at the Stadio Olimpico. Daniele De Rossi put the hosts in front in the first half before Diego Milito equalised after the break, but they weren't to be denied as Luca Toni scored the winner 20 minutes from time.

The Giallorossi were looking to take the game to the champions from the outset, with John Arne Riise breaking dangerously down the left hand side before Mirko Vucinic put a dangerous ball across the face of goal.

Milito won a free kick on the corner of the box in the 10th minute, winning a cheap foul from Juan, but after Wesley Sneijder whipped in a cross he couldn't quite pick up on the loose ball in the penalty area.

The hosts continued to press, and Toni nearly broke into the penalty area following a fine pass from Marco Cassetti but was eventually halted by Walter Samuel. Moments later, the stands erupted when Nicolas Burdisso's header was weakly palmed away by Julio Cesar and De Rossi was on hand to prod the ball home for the opening goal.

Moments after scoring, the midfielder conceded a free kick 30 yards out, from which Sneijder fizzed a shot just wide. Roma were defending in numbers but were happy to allow Thiago Motta and Dejan Stankovic to have efforts from range.

Vucinic almost doubled the lead when his shot was deflected just wide of the left hand post with Julio Cesar stranded. Inter were losing a little of their discipline as they conceded a number of free kicks around their penalty area, with Samuel, Javier Zanetti and Thiago Motta all going into the book.

The Giallorossi tried a number of routines from the set pieces, with Riise going close before Vucinic brought a good save from Julio Cesar. The lead was only a single goal though, and it was nearly wiped out just before the break. Samuel leapt above everyone to crack a powerful header off the crossbar from a corner before Lucio flashed a vicious shot just wide of the right hand post as the Giallorossi defence tried to recover.

The game was becoming increasingly heated as Inter continued to press as half-time approached, but the title challengers' lead was intact at the break.

Just after the break, the Nerazzurri rattled the crossbar again. Milito found space in the penalty area and fired a shot towards goal that took a deflection off Burdisso, but unfortunately for the striker it cannoned off the woodwork and out for a corner. Julio Sergio then made his first meaningful save when Sneijder curled a left-footed shot towards the far post, only to see the Brazilian shot-stopper palm it away.

Ten minutes into the second half, Lucio was yellow carded for a foul on Vucinic. From the resulting free kick, Toni flicked a header inches over the bar. At the other end, Pizarro played his side into trouble when he lost the ball in the area but Juan reacted quickly to clear the ball out for a corner.

Jose Mourinho looked to change his side's shape by bringing Goran Pandev on for Stankovic, and the former Lazio man was instantly involved as he found Milito in the penalty area. The Argentine tried to lay the ball off Sneijder but it wouldn't quite fall for him and the chance was gone.

The pressure eventually told as the Nerazzurri continued to press, and after Sneijder's shot was blocked by a last-ditch challenge from De Rossi, the Dutchman crossed the ball back in for Milito to turn home from close range.

Julio Sergio had to be alive to deny Milito a second goal as Inter waltzed through the Roma backline but the Argentine's touch was poor, allowing the 'keeper to pounce on the loose ball.

In the 72nd minute though, Roma were back in front. Substitute Rodrigo Taddei's shot somehow found its way to Toni to turn and fire home into the corner from 12 yards. De Rossi was forced off injured shortly after, with Matteo Brighi coming on in his place.

Ricardo Quaresma and Cristian Chivu were thrown on by Mourinho as the Beneamata sought a second equaliser, but their necessity to go on the offensive left gaps at the back that the hosts looked to exploit on the counter. Samuel Eto'o nearly scored Inter's second when he brought the ball expertly down from the sky before lashing a shot towards goal but it flew off target.

Francesco Totti was thrown into the fray in the last five minutes, with the desperation evident on both sides as the clock ticked down. Brighi was booked for a dive in the 89th minute after a mistake by Maicon before Chivu picked up Inter's seventh yellow card of the game for a foul on Toni.

Five minutes of added time were signalled, and in the fifth added minute Milito nearly equalised as he crashed a left-footed shot off the right hand post from close range, with Julio Sergio helpless. It was to be Roma's night though, and they picked up all three points to move ever closer to the league summit.

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