Well, did anyone see that coming?
Despite trailing AS Roma 1-0 at the Stadio Olimpico at the halftime interval, Inter Milan pulled off an amazing comeback victory. The Nerazzurri scored three unanswered goals in the second half to win 3-1. Here are five takeaways from the match:
What a result, what a start to the season
When the Serie A fixture list was announced last month, many Inter fans were a bit worried about the first two matches of the campaign. On the heels of a turbulent and disappointing season, the club and new manager Luciano Spalletti would have to face Fiorentina and Roma, two of the seven most traditionally successful teams in Italian football history. It was supposed to be a difficult test, at least we thought.
Well, Inter have passed that test with flying colors, earning all six available points and out-scoring their opponents 6-1. Simply put, this was an outstanding start to the season, and an encouraging sign of what this team is capable of moving forward.
Entering this match, the last time Inter defeated Roma at the Stadio Olimpico in the league was nine years ago (in October 2008). To put that into perspective, Zlatan Ibrahimović scored two goals to lead Inter to the victory, and at that point in time, Jose Mourinho had only added a Supercoppa Italiana to Inter’s trophy cabinet.
Given that this was still just Spalletti’s second competitive match in-charge, that it was against his most recent team — a club that finished second in the league last season — and that Inter are a side in transition, taking three points from the Olimpico is a fantastic result. Be happy and proud, Interisti!
Icardi was the difference… again
he missed over a month of preseason. then scored 4 goals in the first 2 games of the season.— SerpentsofMadonnina (@SerpentsOfInter) August 26, 2017
What more can you say? For the second match in a row, Mauro Icardi scored a brace to lead his team to victory. After Roma took the lead and hit the post three times, Inter looked to be in serious trouble. The Nerazzurri desperately needed someone to step up and find an equalizer… it should come as no surprise that Icardi was the man to do so.
His first goal came against the run of play. Despite being marked by two defenders, Icardi calmly collected a pass from Candreva, used a brilliant turn to give himself the space needed to get a shot off, and scored. His second goal was similar, but even more impressive. Despite being tightly marked by Federico Fazio, Mauro got on the end of a cross from Perisic, spun to give himself space, and slotted home a perfect shot.
Just like that, in the span of 10 minutes, Inter went from trailing 1-0 to leading 2-1, and Icardi was the reason why.
That’s four goals in two matches for a man that missed a large portion of Inter’s preseason. Against Roma on Saturday, Mauro Icardi was simply outstanding... yet again.
The match was more even than the scoreline suggests
If we’re being completely honest here, the 3-1 scoreline was very unfair to the hosts. While Inter started the match well, Roma quickly became the dominant side in the first half, took the lead, and nearly tripled it (hitting the post twice in the first half, and once more in the second). To no one’s surprise, Inter looked vulnerable against Radja Nainggolan, who was able to dictate the play for Roma.
While Inter were clinical and ruthless in the second half, this match could’ve easily ended in a 3-3 draw, or even in a 4-3 win for the home side. But hey that’s football, it didn’t, and the Nerazzurri will be happy to leave the Olimpico with three points in tow.
A more resilient Inter under Spalletti
Whatever Spalletti said to the team at halftime needs to be painted on the club’s dressing room walls because there was a noticeable difference in the Inter that showed up for the second half. The team kept its composure, didn’t panic, and completed a thrilling come-from-behind win. After the horror show that was last season, seeing Inter respond so well to adversity (especially against Roma away) was extremely encouraging to say the least.
You can’t help but feel that this was a match Inter would never have won last season. Simply put, we have to give credit to both Spalletti and his players for the resiliency they showed on Saturday. Turning a result on its head anytime is great, but to do so against Roma at the Olimpico is very impressive.
A golden opportunity awaits
As a whole, Inter should be very confident entering next week’s international break. They’ve earned six out of six points against Fiorentina and Roma, and have a rather favorable run of fixtures when the season resumes.
Inter’s next five league matches are against SPAL (home), Crotone (away), Bologna (away), Genoa (home), and Benevento (away) — none of which finished higher than 15th in the Serie A last season.
In football, results against weaker opponents are no guarantee (especially in Italy), but there’s every reason to believe that Inter will have the opportunity to do some serious damage and rack-up points before their October 22nd clash with Napoli.
The most difficult part of Inter’s start to the season is over, and the club have emerged unscathed. Let’s hope the players can continue in the same vein after a relaxing and injury-free international break. If they can, Inter’s top-four chances will be lifted, and the club might very well look like they’re capable of accomplishing more. But for now, let’s enjoy the win!
Do you have any additional takeaways from Saturday’s match? Share in the comments below.