AS Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan struck 6 minutes from time to salvage a draw for his side against Roberto Mancini’s Inter Milan at the Stadio Olympico on Saturday night.
After a tepid opening, Inter took the lead early in the second half through Croatian winger Ivan Perisic after his left-footed drive found the bottom right hand corner. Immediately after the Inter goal, Roma manager Luciano Spalletti made a tactical substitution by bringing on Bosnian Edin Dzeko for Seydou Keita.
The final half hour of the encounter saw Roma pouring forward and bombarding Samir Handanovic’s goal. Roma’s relentless pressure finally paid dividends when Nainggolan bundled in the equaliser following Dzeko’s scuffed shot.
The 1-1 draw at the Olympico leaves the Nerazzurri 5 points adrift of AS Roma, who currently occupy 3rd position in the league table.
Mancini rues missed chances
Addressing the media after his side’s stalemate in Rome, Inter manager Roberto Mancini rued a golden opportunity to close the gap between his club and AS Roma to just 2 points, and move a step closer towards qualifying for the UEFA Champions League next season.
“The team put in an excellent performance, which builds on our recent displays,” said Mancini (via fourfourtwo.com).
“There are still so many points up for grabs. If we finish on level points with Roma, we have got the advantage of a better head-to-head record.
“Clearly if you concede an equaliser that late there is going to be regret and perhaps we should have scored the second goal.”
— F.C. Internazionale (@Inter_en) March 19, 2016
Spalletti happy with a draw
Speaking to the media after his side salvaged a late draw with rivals Inter Milan, Roma manager Luciano Spalletti revealed that he was pleased with the result.
“We lost the ball too often today, were not good in possession and were forced to move from right to left, so the team used up a lot of energy and that means you’re not as sharp in front of goal,” said Spalletti (as told to Mediaset Premium via football-italia).
“Inter did well to take the lead and we did well to react. It was an entertaining game between two strong sides and the 1-1 result is correct, even if I expected more from my lads this evening.
“The team reacted well and in the end I think this draw is to be accepted. It’s good that we were unpredictable, got behind the lines and troubled the opposition in the final third, so in that sense it’s a good result.”
— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) March 19, 2016
Inter lose golden opportunity to close gap on Roma
With Juventus and Napoli battling for the Scudetto at the top of the table, Inter and Roma are part of a 3 team consortium, which also includes Fiorentina, chasing 3rd spot in the league table. AS Roma are currently in pole position to finish 3rd come the end of the season, lying 5 points clear of Fiorentina and Inter Milan before the start of the Gameweek. With eight games still remaining in the season, Inter will have enough opportunities to close the gap between themselves and Roma. However, Saturday’s draw represented an unfortunate lost opportunity for Roberto Mancini to send a strong signal to the Nerzzurri’s Indonesian owner Erick Thohir.