Francesco Totti’s goal in the 38th minute was not enough to defeat a injury ridden Nerazzurri. Pre-match reports clearly favored visitors Roma as Inter absentees included Marco Materazzi, Walter Samuel, Ivan Cordoba, Olivier Dacourt, and the dynamic scoring duo of Ibrahimovic and Cruz.
After 20 minutes, Inter was closest to scoring the opener when Hernan Crespo with an amazing side volley struck the post and would watch the rebound spin cross the goal mouth out of play. An additional 18 minutes was required before Francesco Totti eventually scored first, the only goal for the Giallorossi thumping it into the back netting before halftime, 1-0 Roma.
With a stunned Nerazzurri leaving the pitch, it was obvious Roberto Mancini would need to inject something new into his side come second half. The maestro made his first of three substitutions with striker David Suazo for Dejan Stankovic. Suazo was followed quickly by youngsters Mario Balotelli and Pele who came on for Esteban Cambiasso and Luis Figo in the midfield, by the 61th minute. Clearly Mancini was playing all cards early not ready for what was next.
The 63th minute would see Inter go down to 10 men when defender Maxwell clashed with Roma’s Taddei near his own goal line. The challenge appeared pretty innocuous, but Maxwell having landed awkwardly on his ankle was eventually stretchered off for more treatment.
Roma smelling blood and sensing victory became a school of piranha, dominating play, maintaining possession and attacking the Inter goal at will. The day looked likely to end in Giallorossi glory if not for two shock yellow cards given to Phillipe Mexes inside the last 10 minutes.
Down to 10 men also, Roma could not compensate for the absence of Mexes and final moments would see the visitors not taste glory as Inter skipper Javier Zanetti sent a thundering shot from outside the box through a crowd of defenders and into the bottom right hand corner of the goal.
Matchday 25 Results
Tuesday February 26th
Juventus 0 – 0 Torino
Wednesday February 27th
Atalanta 4 – 1 Sampdoria
Catania 1 – 1 AC Milan
Fiorentina 1 – 0 Livorno
Genoa 2 – 0 Napoli
Inter Milan 1 – 1 AS Roma
Lazio 1 – 0 Reggina
Palermo 2 – 0 Empoli
Parma 2 – 0 Udinese
Siena 1 – 0 Cagliari
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