That was a tough one to watch. Despite the Olimpico roaring Roma on as it so often has this season, overcoming a resurgent Inter while dealing with their own extensive injury list would prove to be too tall a task as the Giallorossi would lose 2-0 to their rival for top-four - Federico Dimarco and Romelu Lukaku getting on the scoresheet for the visitors.
It’s never fun to revisit such a deflating loss, but in any case, let’s take a look at three things I noticed from Roma’s loss to Inter.
#1: Adios, UCL
There never was much hope, just a fool’s hope. Saturday’s loss to Inter has effectively slammed the door shut in Roma’s face when it comes to qualifying for next season’s Champions League, at least via the league.
The Giallorossi now find themselves in 7th place on 58 points with just four games to play. Given that they're now 5 points back of Inter in 4th, it’s extremely unlikely Roma will finish top four even if they win their remaining fixtures, an extremely disappointing turn of events after having been in third place just a few weeks ago.
No doubt all of Roma’s eggs are now in the Europa League basket, a task that will be no small feat considering Roma’s opponent in the semi-final and the potential matchups that await should Roma reach the final. At this point, though, they have no choice but to go for it.
#2: Who Framed Roger (Ibañez)?
The Giallorossi seemed to be on the precipice of a comeback in the second half, knocking on Inter’s door right from the outset, just unable to find that final pass that would unlock Inter’s defense and result in the equalizer. And with Paulo Dybala entering the fray around the 70th minute, you had some small semblance of hope that Roma would get their equalizer and possibly the winner. Enter Roger Ibañez.
Just minutes after Dybala would get on the pitch, Roma was dealt a crushing blow as Roger’s attempt at a clearance would instead hit Lautaro Martinez, and with the Argentine reacting quickest, he would find Lukaku in space unmarked, the Belgian wasting no time in doubling Inter’s advantage.
It’s not fair to entirely pin the loss on Ibañez, but Inter’s second goal completely evaporated any hope that came with Dybala’s introduction. This isn’t the first time the Brazilian defender has had a costly error in a big match, and with rumors that Ibañez is a candidate to be sold in the summer, you wonder if that moment against Inter sealed his fate.
#3: A Brief Cameo for the Youngsters
It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the Giallorossi in this one, as Mourinho afforded a brief cameo appearance to youngsters Benjamin Tahirović, Filippo Missori, and Niccolò Pisilli for the last few minutes of extra-time.
Tahirović has made several appearances this season, and it was only Missori’s second first-team appearance for Roma, but for Pisilli, it was the youngster’s first-team debut. Sure, you’d probably prefer to make your debut under better circumstances, but no doubt a moment young Niccolò will always treasure.
Well, that’s all from me. As disappointing as the result is, there’s no rest for the weary, as Roma have the first leg of their Europa League semifinal against Bayer Leverkusen in midweek. The Giallorossi will play the first leg at home, so expect a packed and rocking Olimpico as Roma look to qualify for back-to-back European Cup finals.