Not a bad way to come out of the international break, huh? Going into the break on a poor run of form and off the back of a tough loss to Atalanta, it was absolutely vital for Roma to hit the ground running in their return to action, particularly against an Inter Milan side that's had Roma's number as of late. And while it wasn't the best performance by any means, the Giallorossi finally got the monkey off their back and upset Inter at the San Siro.
With José Mourinho suspended for three matches following his red card from the Atalanta match and Inter looking to bounce back from their poor run of form, you'd be forgiven for being pessimistic going into this match. And if the Giallorossi were to concede in the opening minutes of the game as they've so often done in the biggest of matches? Well, that'd be the recipe for a long evening for Roma.
Luckily, Roma received a bit of good fortune this time around. With the Giallorossi navigating the opening 10 minutes of the match with little issue compared to their previous fixtures against Inter, you began to hope that this would be the occasion where Roma struck first blood. And right on cue, our old friend Edin Dzeko received the ball at the top of the box, held off Roger Ibanez, and rifled the ball right past Rui Patricio. However, the Bosnian was found marginally offsides after a VAR review—talk about a lucky break for Roma.
Roma's failure to capitalize following the VAR review came back to bite them, as they were caught napping in the 30th minute when Nicolo Barella found Federico Dimarco on a run into the box, who got just enough on his near-post shot to beat Patricio. Roma's defense was cut open on this one, but make no mistake, Rui should be making that save 10/10 times.
It didn't take long for the Giallorossi to snag an equalizer. Just 9 minutes later, Leonardo Spinazzola intercepted a pass near midfield, turned on the jets as he raced towards the Inter box, and sent a cross to Paulo Dybala. And in true La Joya style, Dybala hit Spinazzola's cross first time and found the back of the net after the shot ricocheted off Handanovic.
The sides went into the break level at 1-1, and you had the sense that whichever side scored next would likely be the victor. And in the opening stages of the second half, Inter seemed the more likely of the two sides to score, particularly when a Hakan Çalhanoğlu free kick in the 62nd minute hit the top of the bar, just centimeters away from being a perfect shot.
This time around, Roma took advantage of their lucky break. A free-kick awarded in the 75th minute saw Pellegrini deliver a perfect ball into the box, finding Chris Smalling near the back post, who made no mistake and headed the ball right past Handanovic to give Roma the lead on the evening. Could Roma see this one out?
With Roma still in the lead as the 90 minutes came to a close, the beginning of stoppage time saw Mady Camara go for an audacious free-kick that narrowly missed the target, marking the start of a five-minute period dominated by Mady's involvement. As Lautaro Martinez took possession at the top of the box, Mady and Tammy Abraham slid in to dispossess Martinez. The danger was cleared, but Mady was left on the ground, seemingly injured, resulting in a stop in play to get Mady medical attention that incensed both the home team and the crowd. When the drama subsided, and Camara was back on the pitch, there was just a couple of minutes to go—ultimately punctuated by a Smalling headed goal-line clearance that ensured Roma were going to snap their winless run against Inter.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. If you want a deeper look, here is the extended highlight package.