The free fall of Inter's season continues as they travel to Roma and despite putting in a good effort were just outplayed by a better team and lose 4-1 making this bad run of form a worrying reality. Roma were simply the better team and although Inter hit a post with Adriano, had a few chances with Vieri and Martins were only able to score a goal by Vieri in the second half.
Inter did put a foot forward today and tried to play with Roma. They put in the effort but the limits of this Inter side were evident and highlighted as everything Inter was doing wrong, Roma was doing right. Where Inter left Adriano and Vieri isolated, Roma had good linkup play between midfield and attack. Where Inter had no wing play, Roma had Mancini flying up and down the side and scoring 2 goals in the process.
Inter tried to break down Roma in the first half with slower possession type football, Roma pushed forward and relied on the genius of Totti and Cassano to open the Inter defense. Infact it worked well and Roma scored 4 goals in the first half, but luckily for Inter the Referee and Linesmen called 3 of them back.
Zac did not have much choice today for his starting 11 with many injuries and suspensions his squad is counted. He decides to beef up the midfield and plays 5 across the middle with Kily and Helveg wide and Farinos, C. Zanetti, J. Zanetti in the middle. The intent here was to block the midfield in hopes of shutting down Emerson and Totti in the middle of the park.
The strategy does work for about the first half hour of the match as Inter was able to win many balls in the middle with C. Zanetti and Farinos pressing on the midfield but were only able to create two chances. One at the 8th minute when Helveg finds Adriano in the box he does well to beat the defender and the goalie but hits the post from a tough angle. The other as Farinos puts in a good ball for Vieri to run onto behind the defense but put his shot wide.
Roma on the other side play to score goals and with amazing play between Cassano and Totti who often played one-two's, dummies and one touch passing Inter had to be alert at all times. The defense played to deep and when Totti and Cassano are given that space it is almost impossible to contain the tricks. Cassano and Totti link up well and allow the midfielders like Emerson and Mancini to slot into space as Cassano cheeky chips the defense and finds Emerson who scores the goal but was ruled offside which he was not. Two more goals were called back for Roma and at least one of them was harsh as Samuel scored but was judged to foul Toldo in the air.
On the fourth attempt they made good as Totti sends in another chip over the top of the Inter defense which Cassano runs onto in between both Cordoba and Cannavaro. Despite being pressured by the two defenders Cassano puts the ball past Toldo to make it 1-0 right at the stroke of half time.
The second half starts in the same manner as the first. Inter try and keep possession while Roma press and go forward when they have the ball and play into space. Vieri and Adriano finally link up together as they play a beautiful one-two with eachother in the Roma box but Lima put in a timed tackle to block Adriano shot which would have been a sure goal.
Zac tries to look for speed and sends Martins in place of Adriano to partner Vieri up front and he is a welcomed site after his month long injury. The move seems to work as Martins had some good touches on the ball and with his pace was also able to beat the offside trap, enter the area and shoot from close range. He should have scored but his low shot was saved by the Roma keeper.
Roma uses its counter-attack strength to get the second goal at the 18th minute as Cassano on the center line one touch passing free's Mancini with a perfect ball into space on the wing and cuts out the Inter midfield. Mancini brings the ball forward, cuts into the area, beats Adani with a slight dribble and scores past Toldo to score the 2-0 goal.
The good sign here however is that after being down 2-0 Inter did not just put there head down and crawl into a hole but find the grit and determination that seemed to be lost in these months. Karagounis comes into the game as well and helps to bring some vertical balls into the midfield. He slots in behind the two strikers, spread the ball well and even just missed scoring with a great long range effort. Inter now accelerate and pin Roma down and when Martins gets the ball in the box, does a great step over to fake out Samuel his blocked shot finds Vieri on the opposite post who scores the 2-1 goal from close range.
Despite the effort and some signs of life, Inter have limits to what they can do. They need to work as a team and fight hard on every ball because the are not able to allow it to flow and do the work for them. Roma on the other side move it around so well and use it move forward as Lima finds Cassano at the 42nd minute. Cassano breaks in along the wing, enters the area and Cordoba who is chasing from behind puts a foot in and gives Roma a penalty shot and earns himself a harsh Red Card which I guess was because he was the last man. Totti does not miss making 3-0 and at the end Cassano pulls a great move near the byline to beat Adani and then sends the square ball across goal where Mancini scores into the open goal to make the final 4-1.
All in all the scoreline is a bit too harsh for this Inter side. They maybe did not deserve to win this game, but also did not deserve to lose by this scoreline. The problem now is that we are losing players left right and center. Between injuries and suspensions it is harder for Zac to put a starting 11 out on the field. To make matters worse Farinos, Helveg and Adani got yellow cards and if Iam not mistaken will all miss next weeks game against Chievo. Add Cordoba's red card and well you can easily see that Zac does not have much to choose from to help take Inter out of this slump.