Chris Smalling headed Roma to a 2-1 win at off-form Inter Milan yesterday which kept them in touch with Serie A leaders Napoli following their 3-1 win over Torino.
England defender Smalling perfectly met Lorenzo Pellegrini’s free-kick with 15 minutes remaining to complete clinical Roma’s comeback from going behind to Federico Dimarco’s fine first-half strike.
“I hope I can keep scoring goals,” Smalling told DAZN after netting his second match-winner of the season.
“Weve got a very strong squad this season, and we have big goals we’re aiming at.”
Jose Mourinho’s side, who levelled through a superb Paulo Dybala volley six minutes before half-time, are four points behind Napoli in fourth place after a win which also leaves Inter further back in the title race.
Simone Inzaghi’s seventh-placed team are eight points off the pace after losing for the fourth time in their eight matches, hardly the best preparation for the crucial Champions League visit of Barcelona on Tuesday.
“We can’t help being disappointed after what was a completely undeserved defeat today,” Inzaghi told DAZN.
“It was our best performance of the season but we came away from it empty-handed, and that’s painful.”
Inter started strongly and were effectively camped in Roma’s half for most of the first half, the away side not able to do anything more than sit back and try to hold off waves of attack.
The hosts thought they had taken the lead with 10 minutes gone, Edin Dzeko punishing dreadful defending from his former team by spinning and hitting a low shot past Rui Patricio which was ruled out for offside. Inter academy product Dimarco followed up on his goal against Hungary which helped put Italy in the Nations League final four by sweeping home Nicolo Barella’s nicely-weighted pass.
The hosts looked heavy favourites for the three points but the goal woke Roma, who were level nine minutes later.
Starting up front in place of Tammy Abraham, former Inter target Dybala had just been denied by a Samir Handanovic double save which also kept out Leonardo Spinazzola when he thrashed in his brilliant leveller from the Italy left-back’s deep cross.
The Argentina forward was replaced by Abraham just before the hour and Inter responded, Hakan Calhanoglu hitting a free-kick off the bar before Kristjan Asllani, stepping in for the suspended Marcelo Brozovic, flashed a curling effort just wide.
However Roma settled and Smalling tipped the result in the away side’s favour with his second of the season to give Mourinho a precious win against his old club. Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa scored his maiden Serie A goals in Napoli’s home win over spirited Torino, his brace in the first 12 minutes setting up the hosts for their sixth win on the bounce in all competitions.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s fifth of his first Serie A season eight minutes before half-time will also keep Napoli in first place unless Atalanta beat Fiorentina by five goals on Sunday.
“I’m very happy, I don’t want to lie, it’s the first time for me in Serie A,” Anguissa told DAZN. “It’s important to score but I just want to do my job. If the goals come I’m happy but the first thing for me is my team, for my team to win.
“So if we can win all the games, even if I don’t score I don’t care. I just want to win.”
Napoli go into next week’s trip to Ajax in high spirits knowing they could take a big step towards the knockout stage of the Champions League. Luciano Spalletti’s side have also netted 18 times in their eight league fixtures despite having to do without starting centre-forward Victor Osimhen for their last three matches.
Torino, who scored through Antonio Sanabria just before the break, stay ninth after losing their third straight game and are level on 10 points with local rivals Juventus who host Bologna today.