Roma wins 3-0 at Inter for 7th straight victory
MILAN (AP) — Francesco Totti scored twice to show he can still dominate at 37 and Roma showed it’s for real with a 3-0 win at Inter Milan to extend its winning start in Serie A to seven matches on Saturday.
The victory moved the Giallorossi five points clear of Napoli and Juventus, which each play on Sunday.
With new manager Rudi Garcia clearly leaving his mark on a squad that missed out on Europe last season with a sixth-place finish, Roma has scored 20 goals and conceded just one.
“This squad’s continuity is the greatest thing,” Totti said. “Winning seven straight matches isn’t easy. ... I don’t think anyone expected this start to the season.
“But the club put the players in place and when you have the right frame of mind good things happen.”
It was the first loss this season for an Inter squad that had also impressed up to this point. The Nerazzurri are seven points back.
Totti, who recently extended his contract for two more seasons, put Roma ahead 18 minutes in at the San Siro with a powerful and precise shot from 21 meters then doubled the lead with a penalty in the 39th after Gervinho was tripped, even though it appeared the foul occurred just outside the area.
The two goals gave Totti 230 for his Serie A career. He is second on the all-time list behind Silvio Piola, who has 274.
Alessandro Florenzi made it 3-0 in the 44th, finishing off a swift counterattack after being set up by Totti and Kevin Strootman.
Inter thought it pulled one back in the 66th when Andrea Ranocchia headed in but the defender was whistled for a foul on Roma goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, who clearly had possession first as the two players leaped up to the ball.
Roma could have had a fourth goal when the speedy Gervinho ran clear in the 73rd but Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic did well to deny him.
Roma ended with 10 men after Federico Balzaretti, who scored the winning goal in last month’s derby with Lazio, picked up his second yellow card in the 79th.
Inter’s best chance turned out to be a shot off the post from Fredy Guarin in the 25th.
Earlier, Atalanta won 1-0 at Chievo Verona to move into the top half of the table, 12 points behind Roma.
Argentine forward Maximiliano Moralez scored in the 16th minute with an acrobatic shot for his first goal in 30 matches.
A minute of silence was observed before both matches to mourn the 100-plus African migrants killed in a shipwreck off the Italian island of Lampedusa on Thursday.
On Sunday, Juventus hosts AC Milan in a high-profile clash and Napoli plays promoted Livorno.