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Roma 1-1 Inter Milan: Nothing Changes

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An equalizing goal from Nainggolan denied Inter all three points and leaves the two sides 5 points apart.

Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Inter came into this match knowing a win would put them right in contention for 3rd place again. Roma came into this match knowing a win would knock their opponents out of the race for 3rd. Both sides left the match in the same position they started in, though the clock is now running against the Nerazzurri.

With Mancini facing the suspension of Palacio plus injuries to Icardi, Jovetic, and Kondogbia, he sent out his players in a 4231 formation. Handanovic was protected by his now standard defensive line of D'Ambrosio, Miranda, Murillo, and Nagatomo (sorry Telles and Santon rotation just isn't a thing anymore). Brozovic and Medel shielded the defense while Perisic, Ljajic, and Biabiany supported Eder in attack. Oh and Miranda was captain since Icardi is out.

Roma started out the stronger of the two sides and forced Inter into quite a bit of early defending. When the away side did get the ball the idea was generally to get the ball to Perisic who came into this match in fine form scoring three goals in as many games. As the first half progressed Inter got more of a foothold in the game and began to make things more of an even contest though neither goalkeeper had to make a save until the 39th minute when Handanovic stopped a volley from Salah.

Inter took the lead in the 53rd minute. Brozovic found Perisic in space on the left side of the pitch and he slotted the ball into the back of the net to send Inter fans into dreamland. This was his fourth goal in 4 games and his performances lately have really been showing why Mancini was so desperate to sign the Croatian. The euphoria from taking the lead soon turned to nerve-wracking anxiety as Roma began pounding away at the Inter defense trying to score a goal of their own (mainly though Dzeko who didn't threaten all that much to be honest). It wasn't all parking the bus though because the away team would often press the Roma players high up the pitch to try to force turnovers so they could hit Roma on the counterattack. Eventually though the home side would level the scoreline. Dzeko's mishit shot fell to Nianggolan who poked the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The match ended 1-1.

This leaves Roma in 3rd with 60 points and Inter in 4th with 55 points (which is the same amount of points Inter ended last season with so there's a positive to take out of this match). Let's take a look at the remaining matches for the three teams battling for the final Champions League spot:

Roma: Lazio (A), Bologna (H), Atalanta (A), Torino (H), Napoli (H), Genoa (A), Chievo (H), Milan (A)

Inter: Torino (H), Frosinone (A), Napoli (H), Genoa (A), Udinese (H), Lazio (A), Empoli (H), Sassuolo (A)

Fiorentina: Frosinone (A-game this Sunday), Sampdoria (H), Empoli (A), Sassuolo (H), Udinese (A), Juventus (H), Chievo (A), Palermo (H), Lazio (A)

All three teams have some tough matches and some matches where it should be simpler to pick up all three points. There is no use predicting where teams will drop points so all I will say is Inter just need to win as often as possible and hope the other teams slip up.