Thuram sinks AS Roma to give Inter Serie A top spot as harmless Lukaku is left watching

Inter took longer than they'd have liked to find the breakthrough but it was Marcus Thuram that secured the three points against AS Roma.

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STADIO GIUSEPPE MEAZZA (Milan) – It took Inter 81 minutes to break AS Roma‘s resistance and it was Marcus Thuram, the newest Stadio Giuseppe Mezza favourite elected by his own fans after Romelu Lukaku‘s departure, who scored the decider in a tricky match that ended 1-0 on Serie A Matchday 10.

Romelu Lukaku was kept quiet for the entire 90 minutes as Roma had their first – and only – shot on target after more than 60 minutes. Later, Thuram remained calm as he pounced on Federico Dimarco‘s cross to earn the Nerazzurri a massive win and the Serie A top spot in the closing minutes.

In what was one of the most anticipated games in Inter‘s recent history, the Curva Nord set the tone of the night long before kick-off by handing out thousands of whistles before the game to “make Romelu Lukaku‘s life on the pitch hell” as they stated in their fanzine.

Yet, all the off-the-pitch events couldn’t overshadow the importance of the game for both sides, with Roma eyeing the possibility of reaching the top six after a troubled start and the hosts needing a win to take the top spot back from Juventus.

Inter left frustrated despite dominant half

Inter’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan and AS Roma’s Leandro Paredes. [@OfficialASRoma]

A seemingly slow start to the game, with Inter patiently trying to take control of possession, was suddenly sparked alive by Hakan Calhanoglu‘s rocket from the edge of the box that bounced off of the bar to give Roma their first scare within six minutes.

The Nerazzurri’s flowing play forced Roma to constantly move from one side to another as a compact block in an attempt to close gaps, but an inspired Marcus Thuram started to cause havoc as he burst down the left flank a couple of times and broke into the box, although the visitors eventually cleared the danger.

The Frenchman then jumped to meet Dumfries‘ cross and saw his header saved – the ball remained at his disposal but Rui Patricio did well to save with his attempt on the rebound.

Although the Nerazzurri clearly seemed the better team in the opening 30 minutes, the Giallorossi’s trademark solidity at the back made all their possession fruitless and suggested the hosts would need patience and stubbornness to find a breakthrough.

On the other hand, Roma looked pleased to follow their usual script, watching the minutes go by, patiently waiting for a chance to come.

Thuram scores late as Inter regain Serie A lead

Marcus Thuram celebrates for Inter. (@Inter)

The second half began with a change among the hosts, who replaced the booked Benjamin Pavard with Matteo Darmian, a further sign that Simone Inzaghi paid attention to every single detail.

Thuram‘s header over the bar was another good chance, while Evan Ndicka and Leandro Paredes picked up two yellow cards in the space of minutes in an attempt to stop the Frenchman and Lautaro Martinez respectively.

An increasing number of tough challenges and fouls made the game more tense, as Inter continued to dominate possession but failed to create clear chances.

Instead, the Giallorossi came close to the opener after 65 minutes with their first attempt of the game, but Bryan Cristante’s towering header was kept out by Yann Sommer‘s diving save.

With continued interruptions inevitably slowing down the pace of the match, it was growingly harder to see a sequence of play last more than a few seconds and Roma were the side who benefitted from such a scenario.

However, Inter‘s stubbornness eventually paid off when substitute Kristjan Asllani found Dimarco with a brilliant cross-field pass that allowed the left-back to sweep in a low cross that Thuram tapped in to give the hosts a deserved lead.

There was still time for a moment of brilliance from Carlos Augusto, who hit a thunderous shot that came off the bar in the closing minutes. Inter head back to the top for another week.

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