Welp, that’ll just about do it for Roma’s Champions League hopes for next season, barring an improbable run to the Europa League title. With an injury list that would make a CVS receipt blush, it was always going to be a tough task for the Giallorossi to take all three points against an Inter side that came into the match off the back of three straight wins in the league. A first-half strike from Federico Dimarco and a second-half dagger from Romelu Lukaku were the difference in this one, as Roma fall 2-0 to their top-four rival.
The match started out with Roma looking the stronger of the two sides, more intent on finding the opener, while Inter was content to grow into the game, a natural start given the two sides’ respective positions in the table. However, Roma’s struggles in the final third would continue to haunt them, with a Pellegrini double-attempt at the top of the box the only opportunity of note.
So, of course, Inter would draw first blood at the half-hour mark, as Leonardo Spinazzola was caught out with Marcelo Brozović finding Denzel Dumfries in space, the Dutch wingback able to whip a cross across goal to the back-post, where Dimarco was able to get on the end of it and put the ball in the back of the net to give the away side the lead.
The remaining 10 minutes of the half saw Roma push for the equalizer but nothing doing as they would head into the locker room trailing at the break.
As this was a must-win game for Roma if they had any hope of qualifying for the UCL via the league, the Giallorossi came out very much on the front foot to start the second half, but their struggles in the final third would continue, as all too often a well-worked possession would end prematurely due to an errant pass or a cross into the box that would have just a bit too much on it.
Roma had a penalty shout in the 55th minute after Darmian inadvertently handled the ball while trying to brace his landing, but a brief VAR review would confirm the call on the pitch and Roma would have to be content with the corner.
The 70th minute saw Paulo Dybala enter the fray after having been an unused substitute in the previous two matches, giving the crowd a massive boost as they looked to galvanize the players on the pitch.
But all the hope that came with Dybala’s entrance into the match was sucked away just minutes later; a defensive miscue from Roger Ibanez saw his attempt at a clearance bounce right off Lautaro Martinez, who reacted quickest to the rebound and fed an unmarked Romelu Lukaku—the Belgian making no mistake in rifling his shot past Rui Patricio to double Inter’s lead.
With the life sucked out of both Roma and the Olimpico, any hope of a comeback had been completely extinguished by Lukaku’s dagger and the rest of the match played out as such, with Roma unable to breakthrough Inter’s defense and Inter content to absorb pressure until the final whistle.
In case you missed any of the action, enjoy the highlights below. The official league highlights are available here.