Roma beats Inter 2-1 to close gap in Serie A

Left unmarked in the center of the area yesterday, Toni took a pass from Rodrigo Taddei and easily found the target for his fifth score in nine matches since transferring from Bayern Munich in January.

Daniele De Rossi had put Roma in front in the 17th, pushing in a loose ball from one meter (yard) following a rebound of a header from Nicolas Burdisso. Inter forward Diego Milito equalized in the 66th following a cross from Wesley Sneijder, although replays showed Goran Pandev was offside before Sneijder even got the ball.

Inter's fourth loss of the season comes just four days before Jose Mourinho's side hosts CSKA Moscow in the opening leg of the Champions League quarterfinals.In an entertaining match from start to finish, Inter hit the goalframe three times. A header from defender Walter Samuel connected with the crossbar in the 42nd, Milito knocked a shot off the crossbar in the 49th and then nearly equalized in the fifth minute of added time.
Inter leads with 63 points, Roma is next with 62 and AC Milan has 59.

Roma stretched its unbeaten streak to 20 games, with 14 wins and six draws.
The win was particularly sweet for Roma coach Claudio Ranieri, who has had icy relations with Mourinho for years ever since the Portuguese coach succeeded him at Chelsea.
The tense match was marked by 10 yellow cards -- seven for Inter and three for Roma -- meaning several players will miss their next match.

Sneijder started at playmaker for Inter despite missing several days of training due to a leg muscle problem, and Milito and Samuel Eto'o lined up at forward.
Roma countered with Jeremy Menez directing Mirko Vucinic and Toni, with Roma captain Francesco Totti starting on the bench.

Inter began with its usual attack of looking for Eto'o to sprint past the defense, while Roma resorted to letting Toni try to outmuscle the defense.Immediately after De Rossi's goal, Inter had its best chance to that point, when Sneijder's 35-meter (yard) free kick deflected wide off Roma's wall.

Still, it was Roma that was creating more and taking better initiative.
Vucinic had a shot deflected wide in the 29th and left back John Arne Riise just missed a long free kick in the 32nd. With Inter scrambling to stop the Roma assault, the hosts were awarded another free kick when Thiago Motta tripped Marco Cassetti and Julio Cesar had to make a diving save on the ensuing shot from Vucinic.
Inter started to organise itself better at the tail end of the half, but had only Samuel's header off the crossbar to show for it.

At the start of the second half, Inter upset Roma by continuing to play when Menez was down at the other end, shaken up after taking a knock.After Milito hit the crossbar, Roma goalkeeper Julio Sergio stretched out for a tough save on a shot from Sneijder.Roma nearly made it 2-0 but a header from Toni following a free kick skimmed just over the crossbar in the 55th.Totti replaced Vucinic for the final five minutes, marking his return from the latest in a series of injuries.

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