Inter held by Roma leaving Juventus clear to reclaim top spot in Serie A


Milan (AFP) – Inter Milan were held to a goalless draw by Roma at the San Siro on Friday leaving the way open for Italian champions Juventus to reclaim top spot in Serie A this weekend.

Antonio Conte’s side have a two-point advantage on Juventus who play Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

The match in the San Siro had been overshadowed by a racism storm after Italian sports daily Corriere dello Sport’s controversial “Black Friday” headline.

The front-page headline accompanied an article about the first Serie A meeting between former Manchester United teammates Romelu Lukaku and Chris Smalling.

Conte’s side proved toothless in attack days before their Champions League clash against Barcelona, against a well-organised Roma.

Lukaku, Marcelo Brozovic and Matias Vecino all missed chances for the hosts as Roma snatched a precious point to move fourth into the Champions League places.

Inter were lacking in midfield with Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella and Roberto Gagliardini all out with Roma missing goalkeeper Pau Lopez while Edin Dzeko started on the bench after flu, but came on for the final 25 minutes.

Midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo took Dzeko’s place up front with Roma dominating the first half an hour, although Inter had the best chances with Antonio Mirante denying Lukaku after a blundering Jordan Veretout back-pass.

A similar error from the Roma goalkeeper nearly proved costly when Mirante passed the ball straight to Lukaku on the edge of the area just before the break but Marcelo Brozovic wastefully sent over the bar.

Mirante proved decisive in front of Matias Vecino just after the break, in a balanced second half which provided little scoring opportunites.

Inter held on to top spot but their advantage remains under threat from third-placed Lazio.

Roma are just one point ahead of Cagliari, with the Sardinians travelling to Sassuolo on Sunday.

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