Roma (2): 17′ Pellegrini 86′ Mancini
Inter (2): 56′ Skriniar 63′ Hakimi
Inter came back with one point from the Italian capital where Conte’s team Drew 2-2 with Roma in a thrilling game. The game was statistically split between both teams in most aspects. Even with this draw, Inter is still within a touching distance from the top of the table. They are only three points behind the leaders AC Milan. However, they are now only four points ahead of Juventus. Their Italian rivals have a game in hand, while the two teams face each other in the next round.
Inter played a satisfactory game overall; considering the fact that they were away to one of the most in-form teams in the league.
The team started the game well by being conservative, nevertheless, They conceded from a deflected shot by Lorenzo Pellegrini after getting caught on a counter-attack. Inter tried for the rest of the first half to get back to the game without succeeding. The players were wasteful of every chance that feel their way.
In the second half, Inter equalized in the 56th minute through a great Header by Milan Skriniar who got at the end of a cross by Brozovic. Quickly after that, Achraf Hakimi put Inter in the lead with one of the goals of the season in the 63rd minute. The Moroccan wingback hit a wonder shot which bounced off the crossbar and into the net with his weaker foot while he was coming from the right side as he usually does.
Inter tried to kill the game off by keeping the same intensity for a very short time. After that, they chose to fall back and defend the lead. They were unsuccessful when Gianluca Mancini equalized for Roma in the 86th minute. The Italian defender headed the ball into the net after a cross from the right side by Gonzalo Villar from a short corner.
The game was in the balance after this and ended with both teams leaving the stadium with a point.
Shots/on Target: Inter 17/6 (Roma 14/8)
Possession: Inter 50% Roma 50%
Total Passes/Success: (Inter 526/85%) Roma 544/89%
Starting Lineup and Formation
Conte started the game with his conventional 3-5-2 formation. The skipper Handanovic kept his place between the posts. The three first Choice center backs started as usual with de Vrij in between Bastoni and Skriniar. In the midfield, Marcelo Brozovic started as the deepest midfielder while Vidal and Barella were the ones on each side.
Ashraf Hakimi kept his position as the right wing-back, while Darmian was granted a start on the left. The two wing-backs were mostly on the same line as the two forwards Lukaku and Martinez during the attacking phases.
Inter were forced into an early substitution at the 34th minute when Darmian had to go out injured and was replaced by Ashley Young.
The substitutions by choice were later in the game. Perisic replaced Lautaro Martinez in the 77th minute. 5 Minutes later, Gagliardini came in for Arturo Vidal in a like-for-like substitution. In the same minute, Hakimi was replaced by the left wing-back Kolarov who pushed Ashley young to the right side in the place of the Moroccan.
Inter switched to 5-4-1 after the substitutions leaving Lukaku upfront by himself while trying to defend the lead.
Conte didn’t have his players pressing the Roman defenders in the first half frequently, knowing their great ability to break the press and move the ball up the field quickly. Inter were trying to be compact in the middle. They crowded the central area with the two forwards and the three midfielders.
The next phase was to take the two attacking midfielders behind Edin Dzeko -Pellegrini and Mkhitaryan- out of the game when Roma tried to play from the sides. Skriniar and Bastoni were not giving any space to the two creative midfielders. In the mean time, the two wing backs defended against their opposite players very well until later in the game.
In the second half, Inter pressed high on the pitch when they were chasing the equalizer forcing Roma to play long balls. The ball was often recovered quickly, just to start another attacking phase. The plan resulted in consecutive attempts , which led to Inter equalizing then grabbing the lead in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Inter tried to play from the back to control the game at the beginning of the game. Brozovic or Vidal would drop deep while sending the outside center backs wide to the side lines. Nevertheless, the rest if the midfield line was too close to the defensive one most of the time during the first half, while the front line was left disconnected .
Later in the first half, the midfielders started to move up the field and got close to the forwards. The players were playing off Lukaku into the empty spaces. The Belgian forward had a good battle with the Roman defender Chris Smalling every time he had the ball with his back to the goal. He succeeded in creating some decent chances for his teammates while having some attempts himself.
In the second half, Inter switched to playing more crosses from the sides, while allowing the midfielders to support the forwards inside the box. Inter had 7 crosses in the first 15 minutes of the second half in comparison with 9 in the the first 45 minutes of the games. The crossing resulted in the corner which led to the equalizer.
Inter have been punished many times during this season from counter-attacks. This game was no different. The first goal for Roma came from a quick counter-attack, where the Inter players failed in the transition once again. Roma tried this a few times in the first half and scored from one of them.
Credit to Conte and the players, as they improved this in the second half in which the wing-backs recovered quicker to give Inter better coverage during the counter-attacks.
Inter have failed to defend the lead against Lazio in the 1-1 draw earlier in the season. In addition to that, they failed to hold onto the point in Madrid in a very decisive game during their UCL campaign. Both games saw Inter dropping deep after grabbing the lead in the first game or equalizing in the second one.
Falling deep invited more pressure from the opposition this game as well and resulted in the equalizing corner for Roma.
Inter can be happy with the point from this game. Playing Roma away is going to be a tough game for all the teams this season, as they haven’t lost a home game yet this season.
Conte has addressed some of the team problems during this game and should be better prepared for the Juventus game next week.
Inter have a midweek game in the Coppa Italia against Fiorentina. Some reserve players should get some minutes to rest the starters for the Juventus game.