Roma twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw with Inter in a pulsating Serie A contest at Stadio Olimpico.
Cengiz Under’s long-range stunner cancelled out Keita Balde Diao’s first-half opener, only for Mauro Icardi’s thumping header to have seemingly set Inter on the way to three points.
But Marcelo Brozovic was penalised for handball, after a VAR review, and Aleksandar Kolarov hammered home the resulting penalty to earn a share of the spoils for Roma.
Inter, who failed to rebound from their midweek Champions League defeat to Tottenham, consequently head into Friday’s Derby d’Italia at Juventus 11 points adrift of the Serie A leaders.
Roma are languishing in seventh and a point will do little to quell rumours Eusebio Di Francesco’s job is under threat.
The hosts were denied the opener by the woodwork early on when Patrik Schick’s audacious backheel was placed against the right post by Alessandro Florenzi.
Nicolo Zaniolo was incensed not to get a penalty following Danilo D’Ambrosio’s hack, while at the other end Robin Olsen’s quick thinking denied Icardi when one-on-one on the half hour.
Keita wastefully headed D’Ambrosio’s cross at the home keeper, but the same combination gave Inter the lead when the full-back’s pin-point delivery from the right was poked into the left corner by Keita’s volley.
Kolarov saw a well-struck 30-yard free-kick saved by Samir Handanovic before the break and Roma got the equaliser in style in the 51st minute.
Under turned sharply and unleased a fierce, dipping 25-yard effort that left Handanovic flat-footed.
Icardi made his mark by leaping highest to head home Brozovic’s corner in the 66th minute to put Inter back in front but a VAR decision turned the game again.
Brozovic was judged to have moved his arm into the path of Milan Skriniar’s attempted headed clearance and Kolarov blasted his effort to the left of a despairing Handanovic.
That was enough for a point, but whether that will be enough for Di Francesco to assuage the growing rumoured discontent in Roma’s boardroom remains to be seen.
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— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) December 2, 2018
What it means: Inter fail to gain Derby d’Italia momentum
Inter were 10 minutes from the Champions League knockout stages before Christian Eriksen’s strike ensured qualification for the second spot in Group B would go down to the wire. Failure to win here means they have just one victory in five competitive outings ahead of a daunting trip to Juventus.
Cengiz has Roma Under control
Roma, who themselves lost in the Champions League to Real Madrid but are already in the last 16, will feel they were worthy of a point and Under was at the heart of their best play. As well as his goal, the Turkey midfielder was cool on the ball and pin-point with his passing.
Brozovic pays the penalty
Brozovic may feel hard done by and he perhaps has a point. But the referee decided he moved his arm towards the ball and it was a movement that was not entirely necessary. Ultimately it cost his team the points.
Just the small matter of the Derby d’Italia for Inter, who travel to runaway league leaders Juventus on Friday. Roma have a trip to Cagliari a day later.