Inter Milan flash old form to overcome slow start and put away Roma
Inter came away with a 3-1 win over Roma following a hard-fought match. After a turbocharged start from both sides, Roma took the lead when a chipped Radja Nainggolan pass found Edin Dzeko in the box. Inter looked on the ropes, their slow, cumbersome attacks going nowhere and the Giallorossi hitting three posts at the other end. And then, out of nowhere, Mauro Icardi gave the game one of his makeovers by converting two chances in 10 minutes, leaving the Stadio Olimpico shell-shocked. Roma could only look on as Ivan Perisic turned on the jets in the dying minutes to feed Matias Vecino the third.
The team showed the kind of character we wouldn't have seen last season, overcoming adversity in rather difficult circumstances. Even after somehow missing an open goal, Icardi made two more out of nothing. This was reminiscent of the Inter of old, catching more creative opponents on the break and taking the wind out of their sails. The Nerazzurri lasted the full 90 with good subs, while Roma disappeared after the hour mark.
Had any one of Roma's three shots gone in off the post, we would probably be talking about a different game.
The midfield lost its way after a strong start. Inter looked overstretched at times, and the attacking trio made plenty of mistakes (especially the wingers) until Inter's first goal.
I wouldn't be surprised to see this Roma team collapse down the table, either.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- The subs made sense. Luciano Spalletti saw that his tactics were wrong and changed them, with Joao Mario suddenly running the Romanisti ragged. Would this Inter team have done this last year? I doubt it.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Samir Handanovic, 6 -- Hard to blame him for the goal, or the three screamers that hit his woodwork. Human beings can't cover that much ground so quickly. Made one nice save.
DF Danilo D'Ambrosio, 5 -- It says a lot that he helped galvanise a moribund Diego Perotti. Partly responsible for conceding the goal. Was passive when he needed to tackle, and tried to lunge when playing contain made more sense. Should have been served more by Antonio Candreva, but mishit one particular cross so badly that he should be billed for all the televisions damaged by furious Interisti.
DF Milan Skriniar, 5 -- These are the mistakes we talked about. Generally solid and showed personality, sure, but could have had a penalty called against him, and lost Edin Dzeko for the goal.
DF Joao Miranda, 7 -- Didn't make any big mistakes, and kept Dzeko in his pocket for most of the game.
DF Yuto Nagatomo, 6 -- Actually a surprising game, seeing as he kept a lid on Gregoire Defrel. Still, it said a lot that Dalbert Henrique did a lot more going forward in just 33 minutes.
MF Roberto Gagliardini, 5 -- Looked lost in the middle of the park. Normal for a midfield that is almost completely new. Nice chipped through ball to Icardi, who was offside.
MF Matias Vecino, 6 -- Strong second half, got a tackle to set up a counter and scored the third. Still, if Roma hit the post three times, it's also because he was glued to the back line, and not covering the Giallorossi's onrushing midfielders.
MF Borja Valero, 6 -- Looked a whole lot better playing deep, as he resembled Ever Banega in the first half. Not the man you would want marooned up front against an intense, possession-heavy opponent
MF Antonio Candreva, 5 -- I get that he teed up Icardi, but he also mishit what should have been a gimme in the first half, missed a few too many crosses and wouldn't serve D'Ambrosio.
MF Ivan Perisic, 6 -- Controversial for a man with two assists? Maybe, but he didn't do anything until the end, fluffing plenty of touches and looking uninvolved. His first pass to Icardi wasn't really an assist, anyway, as it was the Argentine who provided the actual flourish to leave Federico Fazio on his backside.
FW, Mauro Icardi, 8 -- A lifesaver. He's an amazing footballer but he can still get better: He missed an open goal and could have assisted one more late, overhitting a pass. And he should have run on to that Candreva assist, but he recovered well to score anyway. Says a lot about him really.
MF Joao Mario, 7 -- Went on a magical second-half run to set up the third.
DF Dalbert Henrique, 5 -- Looked decent enough going forward, but also let Stephan El Shaarawy cut inside him on a dangerous through ball.
DF, Joao Cancelo, N/R -- Came on late, didn't have an impact.
Edoardo Dalmonte covers Inter Milan for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @EdoDalmonte.