Mancini rocket fires Roma past Juve and into top four, as Inter retake second

Gianluca Mancini fired Roma into Serie A’s Champions League places with the only goal in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Juventus, while Inter beat Lecce to regain second place.

Italy defender Mancini let rip with a perfectly-struck shot six minutes after half-time of a tight contest in Rome, lifting Roma up to fourth with his first goal of the season.

Jose Mourinho’s team are 12 points ahead of eighth-placed Juve who played the final minutes a man down following a moment of madness from substitute Moise Kean, who booted Mancini to the ground just 40 seconds after being brought on as a late substitute.

Roma moved above AC Milan on goal difference thanks to the champions’ defeat at Fiorentina on Saturday night and are three points behind Inter.

“We won because the players gave everything… it was the players’ attitude which won the match tonight,” said Mourinho to DAZN.

“We’re a team that when we’re on it, we’re on it, but we need to be aware of our limitations. When you know them you play to hide them and you get results.”

Champions League football looks increasingly unlikely for Juve, who hit the woodwork three times on a frustrating night, unless their 15-point penalty for illicit transfer activity is overturned on appeal.

Mourinho was in the Roma dugout after his two-match ban for a row with officials at Cremonese was suspended.

The Portuguese coach is not famed for expansive football and the teams served up a dour spectacle in the opening half, which would have ended with Juve ahead had Rui Patricio not pulled off a magnificent save to tip Adrien Rabiot’s close-range header onto the post.

All the hosts had mustered up to that point was a speculative shot from former Juve star Paulo Dybala, playing up front on his own, which was easily saved by Wojciech Szczesny.

But Mancini clattered Roma ahead just as Juve looked to be gaining a foothold. He was left alone to shoot from just outside the area and unleashed a low drive at which Szczesny could only grasp in vain.

Juan Cuadrado almost immediately smacked a free-kick against the post before Szczesny made a brilliant reaction stop to deny Chris Smalling in the 75th minute.

Mancini almost undid his good work when he headed against his own post, and after Kean lost his head Danilo wasted a great chance to level in the final seconds of stoppage time when he duffed a shot too close to Patricio.

“If you don’t score goals you won’t win. We should have done better with the opportunities we had,” said Allegri.

“This match can’t destroy everything that we’ve built… Sometimes it feels like the world if going to cave in but it won’t.”

Inter hold second spot

Goals in each half from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Lautaro Martinez gave Inter the points against promoted Lecce and slightly closed the giant gap between them and Napoli to 15 points.

However, the league title is still a distant hope despite Napoli’s shock home defeat to third-placed Lazio on Friday night, Inter’s main concern being Champions League football next season.

Lautaro Martinez (R) celebrates after netting his 14th league goal of the season
Lautaro Martinez (R) celebrates after netting his 14th league goal of the season © Isabella BONOTTO / AFP

“We were focused and keep going, and that is how you win games,” said coach Simone Inzaghi.

“Lecce are aggressive and press hard. We really had to move off the ball to create space. We did really well.”

Lecce, in 15th, have been a thorn in the side of Italy’s big boys this season but offered very little at a subdued San Siro.

Related posts

Mets’ Francisco Lindor hits his third homer of the spring training season


Michigan public works chief gets 3 months for threatening developer


“This should be the plan.” Kawhi Leonard’s championship-level play lifts the Clippers


Leave a Comment