Inter’s perfect April is in the books. The Nerazzurri notched a 5th victory in as many matches to close out the month, in turn ripping Roma’s 12-game unbeaten run to shreds by a score of 3-1 in front of a packed San Siro. Denzel Dumfries, Marcelo Brozovic, and Lautaro Martinez were the goalscorers, but it was a true team effort. Hakan Calhanoglu and Ivan Perisic led the way behind the scenes with two and one assists each, while the backline had Roma’s attack under lock and key for almost the entire ninety minutes. Even the biggest pessimist would be hard-pressed to find any complaints after this one.
Despite the recent successes of Joaquin Correa, Simone Inzaghi reverted back to the strike partnership of Edin Dzeko and Lautaro Martinez. Federico Dimarco also slotted in for Alessandro Bastoni, who left the Milan game with a knock. Other than that, however, it was an entirely first-choice XI. The same was the case for Roma, who lined up in a 3-4-2-1, headlined by Tammy Abraham, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Stephan El Shaarawy. The only absentees were an injured Arturo Vidal and the suspended Nicolo Zaniolo.
The opening stages were fairly balanced, with neither team able to get much going in the final third. Inter especially lacked fluidity and the partnership of Dzeko and Lautaro meant the Nerazzurri’s had almost no chemistry in attack. The first real chance of the night came in the 18th minute via a long-range rocket from Hakan Calhanoglu that forced Rui Patricio into a diving save at full stretch to paw the ball away.
Rui Patricio denies Hakan Çalhanoğlu. ❌ pic.twitter.com/8hTz1YNm7L— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 23, 2022
Roma had the next look on goal in the 29th minute. A Pellegrini free-kick found Gianluca Mancini in the six-yard box but the Italian’s header somehow whizzed over the bar. That miss proved even more important moments later, as Inter roared down the field on the counter to open the scoring in the 30th minute. A Calhanoglu through ball sliced Roma’s defense apart and found Dumfries in behind, and the Dutchman slotted the ball home past Patricio.
INTER SPLIT ROMA'S DEFENSE AND DENZEL DUMFRIES FINISHES OFF THE MOVE. pic.twitter.com/rTwVe50FRf— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 23, 2022
It didn’t take long for Inter to double its lead. Marcelo Brozovic scored his second league goal of the season in as many games ten minutes later to cap off a stellar team move.
The 2-0 scoreline survived until halftime, although Dumfries sent a header just wide in the 45th minute from a Dimarco cross. It wasn’t Inter’s best half, but the Nerazzurri’s attacking quality meant it had a two-goal lead to sit on. Roma out possessed the hosts 60%-40%, but Inter tallied 7 shots (4 on target) compared to Roma’s 2 (none on target).
The second half began much like the first ended, with Lautaro making it 3-0 in the 52nd minute off a Calhanoglu corner.
HEADS UP!— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 23, 2022
LAUTARO MARTÍNEZ WITH A PINPOINT HEADER. pic.twitter.com/2tmZ1QtGid
A Roma comeback seemed incredibly unlikely, so the tempo slowed and action began to ease towards a conclusion. There were a few half chances here and there, but both managers made a number of subs with the result secured. Henrikh Mkhitaryan spiced things up a bit when he pulled one back for the visitors in the 85th minute, but Inter kept things under control with nine minutes left.
HENRIKH MKHITARYAN. WHAT A GOAL.— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 23, 2022
The dummy from Rick Karsdorp though. pic.twitter.com/3QrNnH8QJT
Handanovic - 6.5: Lost out on his clean sheet but no one was saving Mkhitarayan’s effort. Only had one save to make otherwise, so not a busy day for the veteran.
Dimarco - 7.5: A bit of a surprise to see Dimarco in the XI but he didn’t disappoint. Was leading Inter in touches (66) and passes (49) when he was taken out at the 63rd minute, completed 8 long balls, 2 crosses, 1 key pass, and won 3 duels.
de Vrij - 6.5: Didn’t have much to do but was always ready when called upon, making 3 clearances and 1 interception.
Skriniar - 6.5: Kept Abraham quiet for the most part but did have a few iffy moments against the Englishman. Also managed a 100% passing accuracy, the second most touches on Inter (68), and went 5 for 5 on long balls.
Perisic - 7.5: Another monstrous display. Assisted Brozovic’s goal, made 2 key passes, 2 interceptions, and 1 clearance.
Calhanoglu - 8.5 (Man of the Match): Had a key role in every goal Inter scored, assisting Inter’s first and third and winning the ball off of Pellegrini to spark the second. Had the most touches on Inter (69 - nice), a 90% passing rate, 2 key passes, 4 accurate long balls, 2 clearances, and 4 interceptions.
Brozovic - 8: As good as ever and added another goal to his stats sheet with some fancy moves in the final third (thoughts and prayers to Mancini’s ankles). Also won 5 duels, made 4 tackles, 1 clearance, and 6 accurate long balls.
Barella - 7: A busy day for the Italian, who won 6 duels, made 2 tackles, and tallied 2 key passes. Good to see him back to being a constant force in the midfield.
Dumfries - 8: Scored his 5th of the season with a calm and collected finish and was a general nuisance to Roma. Had the 4th most touches on Inter (59), won a team-high nine duels, and made two clearances.
Lautaro - 8: Has found his scoring boots with four goals in his last three games. Didn’t do all too much outside of his clinical header today, but it just about sealed the three points for Inter and made the second half a routine affair.
Dzeko - 7: No goal against his old club this time but still an impactful display from the Bosnian. Helped create Dumfries’ goal with some hold-up play in midfield and won 3 duels.
Inzaghi - 8: Surprising to see Dzeko and Lautaro start together after their recent performances as a duo, but though they didn’t connect all too well, their goal contributions proved Inzaghi correct. Dimarco over D’Ambrosio also paid off excellently. Overall a superb job from Il Mister and he was even able to give some rest to some of the starters in the second half.
Inter moves up to 72 points, one ahead of Milan until the Rossoneri take on Lazio Sunday evening. Next up for the good guys is the long-awaited trip to Bologna Wednesday and an away clash with Udinese next Sunday. On paper, Roma was the toughest game left on the schedule, but both Bologna and Udinese have given the big clubs problems this season so this won’t be an easy week by any means.