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Inter 1-2 Roma: Smalling header inflicts further pain on Nerazzurri
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Joshua Challies
Stats Perform
Chris Smalling struck Roma's winner against Inter
Chris Smalling struck Roma's winner against Inter

Chris Smalling's header saw Roma come from behind to beat Inter in Serie A for the first time in over five years.

Federico Dimarco gave Inter a first-half lead at San Siro, but Paulo Dybala equalised against the side he was heavily rumoured to join before he completed a move to Roma.

Hakan Calhanoglu struck the crossbar with a ferocious free-kick in the second period, before Smalling scored the winning goal to inflict more misery upon Simone Inzaghi's side.

Inter have now lost back-to-back Serie A matches and three of their last four, drifting eight points behind early pacesetters Napoli.

Edin Dzeko saw an early attempt, which would have been his 100th Serie A goal, disallowed for offside but Dimarco broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark, teeing Nicolo Barella's threaded pass into the bottom corner to take the lead with an effort Rui Patricio will feel he should have done better with.

The lead lasted less than 10 minutes though, Dybala volleying home Leonardo Spinazzola's cross past Samir Handanovic to secure his fourth Serie A goal of the season.

A timid start to the second period saw few opportunities but Calhanoglu was inches away from pushing Inter ahead again, firing a free kick off the frame of the goal shortly after the hour mark with Patricio stranded.

Fifteen minutes later, the visitors scored their winner as Smalling found space to head Lorenzo Pellegrini's free-kick home with ease – a VAR check showing the defender was not offside and instead the beneficiary of lacklustre marking.

What does it mean? Pressure on Inzaghi rises

While plenty of talk has orientated around Massimiliano Allegri's position at Juventus, Inzaghi himself is certainly not in the clear with Inter falling even further adrift of the pace in Serie A.

Home form in the league had been a comfort for Inter, who had won their last seven league matches at San Siro and kept four clean sheets in the process, but they have never remained unbeaten in eight consecutive home games under Inzaghi – a run that has been extended.

Meanwhile, Roma, having lost two of their last three in Serie A ahead of the game, brought an end to a 10-match streak without a win against Inter with a victory that may prove to be valuable.

Dybala the thorn in Inter's side

Heavily linked with Inter after the expiration of his contract with Juventus, fans had to cope with a sight they have become accustomed to in recent encounters – the Argentine finding the net against them.

Dybala has now scored in four of his last five league meetings against Inter, having gone goalless in each of his previous 10 Serie A matches against them.

Brozovic absence felt again

Marcelo Brozovic was absent due to injury against Roma and the void was clear, with Inter without a win in the four games the midfielder has missed since the start of last season.

With the Croatian in midfield, the Nerazzurri have won 69 per cent of Serie A matches (29/42) while averaging 2.2 points a game, and reports that he will be absent for an extended period will provide no relief.

Key Opta Facts

- Inter have lost four of their first eight seasonal Serie A matches , equalling their negative record in the competition at this point of the season since 2011.
- Dimarco scored his first goal for Inter at San Siro in Serie A after 21 home games for the Nerazzurri in the competition. It was his first league strike in almost a year.
- Since the last term, no player has provided more assists from open play than Barella in Serie A (15, level with Sergej Milinkovic-Savic).
- Since the start of the 2019-20 season, Paulo Dybala has scored four goals against Inter in Serie A. In this time period, no other player has done better against the Nerazzurri.
- Three of Smalling's five Serie A goals have seen an assist provided by Lorenzo Pellegrini. The former Manchester United defender was playing his 300th game in the big five European Leagues.

What's next?

Inter face a fierce test in the Champions League against Barcelona on Tuesday, while Roma host Real Betis in the Europa League on Thursday.


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