PHILADELPHIA – In the “City of Brotherly Love”, Inter put on a convincing display to beat Roma by a 2-0 scoreline in their third International Champions Cup match. Two defenders, Vidic and Nagatomo, found the net to secure the Nerazzurri’s victory. If Man United fail to beat Real Madrid in 90 minutes later, Inter will go through to Monday’s final in Miami.
This all-Italian matchup was hosted at Lincoln Financial Field, home of NFL side the Philadelphia Eagles. So of course there were many Italians in the stands to witness a match that has become a true classic over the last 10 years.
Coach Walter Mazzarri sent Inter onto the pitch in a 3-5-2 line-up: Handanovic, Andreolli, Vidic, Juan Jesus, Nagatomo, Jonathan, M’Vila, Kuzmanovic, Dodo, Botta and Icardi. For his part, Garcia fielded the Giallorossi in a 4-3-3: Skorupski, Florenzi, Astori, Castan, Emanuelson, Pjanic, De Rossi, Nainggolan, Iturbe, Destro and Ljajic.
The match began slowly as both teams attempted to feel each other out. Then Kuzmanovic popped up with a right-footer that went high before Iturbe shot centrally (easily handled by Handanovic). Kuzmanovic, who was constantly sought out by his team-mates, tested the Roma keeper in the 22nd minute, just before the referee stopped the match for a water break.
On 31 minutes Jonathan picked out Icardi with a cross, but the Argentine’s header showed more power than precision. Four minutes later Nainggolan created space for himself and shot centrally, but Handanovic cleaned up the danger after some initial difficulty.
Just before the half-time whistle Dodo managed to win a free kick on the left. The ball was whipped into the box where Nemanja Vidic headed past the helpless Skorupski for what was his first Inter goal, even if it arrived by way of a friendly match. Both sides then went into the dressing room with the score at 1-0 to the Nerazzurri.
The second half kicked off with a huge chance for Roma when Destro found himself unmarked inside the 6-yard box, only to somehow head wide of the post. On 57 minutes Iturbe darted into Nerazzurri territory but was thwarted by excellent defensive work from Vidic before Nainggolan shot just wide of the post. Seven minutes later Vidic again got his head on the end of a ball in the box but saw his attempt go slightly high.
Both teams then went to the substitutes’ bench. Roma took off Emanuelson, De Rossi, Pjanic and Destro for Cole, Keita, Uçan and Totti. Meanwhile, Inter pulled Botta, Kuzmanovic, M’Vila, Dodo, Handanovic and Jonathan for Carrizo, Kovacic, Laxalt, D’Ambrosio, Guarin and Krhin.
Then in the 68th minute Inter got onto the scoreboard once again. A deflected cross in the box fell to Nagatomo and the Japanese full-back smashed his first time shot off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
More substitutions followed. Giallorossi players Romagnoli, Sanabria and Borriello came on for Benatia, Ljajic and Iturbe. For their part, the Nerazzurri sent on Andreolli, Mbaye and Silvestre for Ranocchia, Nagatomo and Vidic.
In the 85th minute Totti sent a perfectly weighted through ball into space for Sanabria. When facing Carrizo one-on-one, the Paraguayan shot straight at the Inter keeper, who parried the ball to keep Inter’s clean sheet intact.
The match ended as a 2-0 victory for Inter against yet another strong opponent. In the meantime, the Nerazzurri continue to progress with each match, demonstrating exactly the kind of mentality Mazzarri is asking of them.