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Inter Milan 2-1 Roma: This is nice

Icardi got a late goal to give Inter and Mancini an important win over 3rd placed Roma.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

After the Derby draw, Inter played hosts to struggling AS Roma. The capital side has been very out of form in 2015, and some saw this as the best possible time to play against them. The buildup to the match had been cautiously optimistic and fans hoped that the team would be able to play as well as they did against Milan, just ruthless (and luck) enough to actually score.

The only change Mancini made from last week's starting lineup was returning Brozovic and Guarin to the lineup (they were out due to suspension). Since it was Medel's turn to be suspended Gnoukouri stayed in the starting lineup.

The match started rather slowly but in the 15th minute, Hernanes showed everybody why he has been keeping Shaqiri out of the starting lineup in recent weeks. He picked up the ball from Palacio, made space for himself, and curled in a beautiful shot from outside the box. Once again the Brazilian midfielder was at the heart of most of Inter's good attacking play in the match, and he deserves to continue to be in the starting lineup.

Roma came surging back and Ibarbo came very close to leveling the score, Handanovic having to thank his goalpost from keeping Ibarbo's shot out and the match in the Nerazzurri's favor. The rest of the half did not really create anything of note.

The away side continued to push for an equalizer at the start of the second half, with Inter willing to sit deep and threaten on the counter, mainly through Icardi who was unable to take advantage. Roma did get the goal they desired in the 63rd minute. Ranocchia gifted the ball to Pjanic who sent the ball to Nainggolan to smash home.

Roma kept threatening and at this point it looked like the capital side would be more likely to take all 3 points. Vidic and Handanovic needed to make several timely interventions to keep Inter in the match. Icardi did have a few other chances but he continued to waste them, much to the frustration of the fans.

Mancini decided to throw caution to the wind and introduced Kovacic, Shaqiri, and Podolski into the match for Brozovic, Guarin, and Gnoukouri. The attacking interplay between these substitutes, Icardi, and Palalcio began to shift momentum back to Inter and eventually Icardi finally took one of the chances presented to him. In the 88th minute Podolski found Icardi for him to turn, score, and hand Inter all 3 points in this exciting match.

Things to Note:

  • It looks like Vidic is starting to really find his feet here. These last few matches pairing him with Ranocchia have gone very well for the Serbian, and he is beginning to show that experience that made the club willing to pay him such high wages.
  • After the game against Milan I was unsure if Gnoukouri looked so good out there because he actually knows what he is doing or if both midfields were so bad that he just slotted right it. He has gone quite some way towards proving the first option in this match. Against a Roma midfield that is usually very dominant, he held his own and filled in for Medel very well. Like Mancini said the youngster plays without fear and he has been entertaining to watch. If he continues developing at this rate the youth team could have found another potential star.
  • Icardi made me want to tear out my hair for most of this match, but somehow he managed to still score. This was definitely a bad game by his standards but he still did what he needed to do and give the team the win. He has also been tracking back and picking up the ball deeper in order to get more involved in play which has been nice. After the game he said that he wants stay at Inter, so hopefully we hear confirmation of him signing a new deal soon.
This was an important win. Not only does it boost morale and put more faith in Mancini's project, but it also allows the outside thought of making European places to creep back into people's minds. Honestly I'm not sure if it is a good idea for the team to be in the EL next season (dealing with the extra matches/travel, possible FFP sanctions, etc.) but I'm not going to think about it. I will just hope Inter win as many matches as possible before the end of the season and see where the team ends up. If they go out and play like they did against Roma in all the remaining games, that final position might be a little higher than we all expected a few weeks ago.