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Rediff.com  » Sports » Serie A: Roma drop points in drab draw with Inter

Serie A: Roma drop points in drab draw with Inter

March 02, 2014 11:50 IST

AS Roma missed the chance to put pressure on Serie A leaders Juventus after playing out a frustrating goalless draw with Inter Milan in front of a half empty Stadio Olimpico on Saturday.

Rudi Garcia's side stay second on 58 points after an underwhelming display in an eerily quiet stadium shorn of the boisterous support from the Curva Sud and Curva Nord sections, closed following offensive chanting in previous home games.

Daniele De Rossi (right) of AS Roma competes for the ball with Jonathan and Ricardo Alvarez of Inter Milan during their Serie A match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday"The atmosphere was a bit strange, and it's a shame because the whole world would have seen a high-profile match like tonight's. I think especially for a foreign audience seeing a stadium that empty is a real shame," said Garcia.

"I think its damaging to Italian football apart from anything else."

Champions Juve can move 11 points clear with a win at AC Milan on Sunday (1945 GMT) that would make their third straight league title almost a formality.

The closest the hosts came to claiming the three points was after half an hour when Mattia Destro was ruled offside as his close-range shot rebounded off the post and back to Inter keeper Samir Handanovic, who comically spilled the ball over the line.

"The draw was the right result. Neither team had a lot of chances. We wanted to win tonight but a draw was fair," said Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic.

The Bosnia midfielder came on as a 55th minute substitute for Adem Ljajic and could have snatched the three points when put through on goal with 15 minutes to go, but Handanovic brilliantly tipped his low shot wide.

"It was a good save. I definitely should have done better but it was a very good save," added Pjanic.

Inter stay fifth on 41 points, six ahead of Milan, but should have had a penalty in the 15th minute when Mauro Icardi was tugged back in the area by Medhi Benatia just as the Inter striker flashed a volley wide.

FURTHER CONTROVERSY

There was further controversy when TV images showed Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi  punch Icardi from behind when marking the striker at a first half free kick.

Inter defender Juan Jesus was then caught by the cameras punching Roma defender Alessio Romagnoli in the second half.

Both players were lucky not to have been seen by referee Mauro Bergonzi.

"I think any technology that can make matches as regular as possible is a good thing. I think the referee should have the minimum possible impact on the result and should be helped in any way possible," said Inter coach Walter Mazzarri.

"If there's been a development of technology in every other area of life, then why not in football?"

There was a 17-point gap between the two sides before kick off but Inter were the better side in the first half, suffocating a Roma midfield then lacking Pjanic and pinning their defence back in their own area.

Inter striker Rodrigo Palacio headed over after 20 minutes when he should have done better from a good position and Yuti Nagatomo thumped a volley over the bar eight minutes later.

"We were brilliant in the first half and the only thing we were missing was the goal," Mazzarri said.

"But I'm happy how the team are playing, and how they played in one of the hardest grounds to play at in Italy."

Inter are unbeaten in four games but will drop down to sixth if surprise package Hellas Verona, who are two points behind them, beat Bologna at home on Sunday (1400 GMT).

Third-placed Napoli can close the gap between themselves and Roma to four points should they win at relegation-threatened Livorno on Sunday (1730 GMT).

Image: Daniele De Rossi (right) of AS Roma competes for the ball with Jonathan and Ricardo Alvarez of Inter Milan during their Serie A match at Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday

Photograph: Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

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