Inter moved provisionally back to the top of Serie A with a 1-0 win over Genoa on Saturday, while AS Roma’s poor run of results continued as Torino snatched a 1-1 draw against Rudi Garcia’s side.
Adem Ljajic scored the only goal of the match as Inter won 1-0 for the eighth time in their 15 league matches this season.
Inter had to play with 10 men for the final four minutes after Danilo D’Ambrosio was sent off following a second booking.
Inter moved two points above SSC Napoli, who were due to travel to relegation-threatened Bologna yesterday.
“We gave our utmost because we knew it was a difficult match, but we managed to return to winning ways and we are happy,” Ljajic said. “I don’t like talking about referees, but it doesn’t seem normal to me that every two or three weeks we have to play with a man less, but we are used to it.”
Ljajic moved on loan from Roma on the final day of the transfer window and the Nerazzurri have the right to buy the Serbia international at the end of the season.
“I always try to give my best for the team,” Ljajic added, when asked about his future. “Are Roma kicking themselves? I hope so.”
Roma were fifth, five points behind Inter, after a late penalty saw Torino rescue a point.
Roma created little of note throughout, but Miralem Pjanic looked to have won the match.
However, Maxi Lopez converted deep in stoppage-time after Kostas Manolas was harshly adjudged to have tripped Andrea Belotti in the penalty area.
“This draw is also our fault because when you are so close to the end of the match you have to manage the result better,” said Garcia, who ironically applauded the referee after the match. “Looking at the penalty again, Manolas appears to get the ball and put it out for a corner, without touching anyone.”
Inter were looking to bounce back from last week’s 2-1 defeat to Napoli and almost took the lead early, but Felipe Melo fired over the bar from a pullback by Rodrigo Palacio — who joined the Nerazzurri from Genoa in 2012, after three years at the club.
The hosts went even closer just before halftime when Mattia Perin was forced into a great save to parry Ljajic’s volley from an Alex Telles cross from the left.
Moments later, the dangerous Ljajic went on a mazy run, before firing just past the left post.
Genoa had their first real chance of the match in the 53rd minute, but Samir Handanovic parried an explosive Diogo Figueiras effort.
Inter took the lead six minutes later when Ljajic’s free-kick from the left flank flew into the far side of the net.
Roma were looking to bounce back ahead of Wednesday’s crucial UEFA Champions League showdown with BATE Borisov. They were humiliated 6-1 at Barcelona in their last European outing and that match was sandwiched between a 2-2 draw at Bologna and an alarming 2-0 defeat at home to Atalanta BC.
Torino had several early chances, but recalled Roma goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny did well to parry Belotti’s effort from close range and moments later Bruno Peres’ snapshot from distance was deflected just over the bar.
There was more bad news for Roma as key striker Gervinho limped off 25 minutes into his comeback.
It took Roma until the 49th minute for their first shot on target, but Radja Nainggolan’s volley was straight at Padelli.
Edin Dzeko should have put Roma in front in the 71st minute from a great ball over the top by Alessandro Florenzi, but he headed over the bar.