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Roma defender Gianluca Mancini (Top L) headed in a late equaliser against Inter Milan.


Late Mancini leveller stalls Inter, Napoli bounce back at Udinese

MILAN, Italy, Jan 10Gianluca Mancini headed in a late equaliser as Roma stalled Serie A title rivals Inter Milan with a 2-2 draw in Rome on Sunday.

Second-placed Inter dropped further points after their eight-match winning streak ended midweek with defeat at Sampdoria.

Antonio Conte’s side drop three points behind leaders AC Milan who got back to winning ways in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Torino after Juventus had ended their 27-match unbeaten league run during the week.

Defender Mancini got his head to a Gonzalo Villar cross four minutes from time at the Stadio Olimpico to keep Roma three points behind Inter in third.

“I think it was a good match, played well in the first half too, against Roma who have the same objectives as we have and are only three points behind,” said Conte.

“Then at the end of the match, sometimes there is a certain fear in the face of an important result which prompts you to drop off.

“We had the chance to kill off the game but couldn’t manage it, and let Roma back into it late on because we were out of energy.

“It’s a shame because, with two minutes two go, we were beating a strong side.”

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Inter had fought back after Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Roma the lead after a quarter of an hour in Rome.

Milan Skriniar headed in the equaliser 11 minutes after the break before Achraf Hakimi put Inter ahead seven minutes later with a superb long range shot that clipped off the crossbar into the net.

Bryan Cristante came off the bench after 79 minutes and provided some impetus for the Roma midfield.

Conte made late substitutions with forward Lautaro Martinez, midfielder Arturo Vidal and full-back Hakimi all coming off.

“Vidal had picked up a knock and asked to be brought off,” said Conte.

“Lautaro was tired after 75 minutes of effort off the ball too. Hakimi gave a lot too and these players have played a lot of football in the last seven days.

“We have a squad that’s big enough to make good changes so it’s normal to look to the bench.”

– Bakayoko rescues Napoli –

The visitors caved in to Roma pressure despite goalkeeper Samir Handanovic making saves including from a close range Mancini effort before being beaten by the defender from the subsequent corner.

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“We had a good first half but for 20 minutes of the second half we weren’t the same team,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca after a sixth consecutive draw between the two sides.

Inter Milan’s Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal came off injured against Roma. © AFP / Vincenzo PINTO

“We had 15-20 minutes in the second half which were fatal. Then when Inter scored the second goal we went back to being the same team.

Napoli bounced backed from their shock midweek home to defeat to Spezia with a last-gasp 2-1 win at Udinese to move into fifth position ahead of champions Juventus who play Sassuolo later on Sunday.

Tiemoue Bakayoko struck in the last minute to earn three points for Gennaro Gattuso’s side.

Lorenzo Insigne converted a penalty to open the scoring in the 15th minute following Kevin Bonifazi’s foul on Hirving Lozano.

Kevin Lasagna pulled Udinese level in the 27th minute, with the hosts missing chances to kill off the game before Bakayoko headed in his late winner.

New Parma coach Roberto D’Aversa could not stop his struggling side falling to their fifth straight defeat, 2-0 at home against Lazio.

Second-half goals from Luis Alberto and Felipe Caicedo sealed the three points for the Romans who are two points off the European places.

Parma are second from bottom of the league.

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