Roma Still The Best Club in The World After Draw Against Inter Milan
Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC) witnessed another defence today as newly-crowned champions Roma took on Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan at the San Siro in the first ever Serie A UWCC title match.
Just three days earlier, Roma had become the first ever non-English UWCC champions after beating Fulham in the Europa League, but they faced a tough test against league-leaders Inter Milan in their first match.
Roma entered the game way down in 14th place, while Inter's eight match unbeaten run, six of which were wins, made them clear favourites on paper, particularly with the home advantage.
But the game is played on grass, not paper, and Roma upset the form book by grabbing a hard-fought draw against the home side.
And, to be honest, they could have probably won it.
Mirko Vucinic almost got the away side off to the perfect start when, just three minutes in, he got on the end of a fantastic defence-splitting pass before rounding 'keeper Julio Cesar only to be dispossessed by a back-tracking Lucio.
It was an early scare for the home side, but it didn't seem to spark them into action. Certainly, they weren't seriously threatening Julio Sergio's goal.
In fact, it was Roma who looked most like scoring. Vucinic threatened again not long after when he was given too much space by the defence. His long range effort never really troubled Cesar but he had way too much time to line up his shot.
Then, after 13 minutes, Roma got their deserved breakthrough.
A long ball into the penalty area from Marco Motta found Vucinic once more who this time made no mistake, looping his header high over Cesar's head and into the net.
This finally woke Inter up, and they tested the Roma 'keeper for the first time in the match shortly afterwards.
Maicon's effort from outside of the box was comfortably saved before Diego Milito got behind the Roma defence and forced a great stop from Sergio.
An injury to influential midfielder Daniele De Rossi slowed play down a bit, but Roma were soon creating chances of their own again.
John Arne Riise unleashed a trademark thunderbolt from a free-kick that deflected narrowly wide of Cesar's right-hand post before a similarly speculative effort almost caught his opposite number off guard.
Thiago Motta received the ball out on the left touchline with seemingly nothing on. Then, out of nothing, he let fly at goal, and forced a decent save out of Sergio.
There was still time in the first half for Roma to test Cesar again through Jeremy Menez but, even though it hadn't gotten any worse for them, Mourinho was visibly annoyed with his team's performance.
His response? Two half-time changes, including bringing striker Mario Balotelli on for midfield anchorman Patrick Vieira.
The subs must have made an immediate impact because, within three minutes of the second half starting, Inter Milan were level.
Thiago Motta picked up a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area before sliding a through ball to Samuel Eto'o who spun and shot past Julio Sergio.
Riise then came close with another free-kick, but again he saw it fly narrowly past the right-hand post.
Inter responded with a close effort of their own on the hour mark, Dejan Stankovic coming close with his effort from outside of the box.
Just three minutes later, Roma had yet another chance to get a second, but Julio Cesar was equal to it.
Some slick build-up play led to Vucinic tapping the ball down to Menez, but his goal-bound strike was well saved by the Inter shot-stopper.
Substitute Stefano Okaka-Chuka then almost provided a moment of magic when his strong run led Roma's counter-attack up-field. A one-two with Menez gave Okaka-Chuka a sighting of goal, but his powerful strike was just too high.
With ten minutes left, it was the away side who looked hungry for the winner, and so unsurprisingly it was they who came closest to getting it.
A lovely through ball from Marco Motta found Ricardo Faty, but yet another good save by Julio Cesar denied him.
As the clocked ticked down towards the 90 minute mark, Inter finally starting showing the desire to grab all three points, and they had a couple of good chances to steal them.
First, Samuel Eto'o was left unmarked inside the box, but his volley was disappointing, ending up quite a long way wide.
Then, just two minutes later, Balotelli found some space inside the box, but his cross-cum-shot ended up missing Eto'o's outstretched boot by inches.
The result means that Inter Milan have had three unsuccessful UWCC title challenges which, with no title reign to their name either, puts them alongside Stoke, Aston Villa, Manchester City, and Arsenal as the least successful teams in UWCC history.
For the eighth match in a row, the minority of voters in the poll got the right answer, correctly predicting that Roma would keep their UWCC title, so well done to whoever got it right!
Roma 2-1 Fulham (Roma become new champions)
Inter Milan 1-1 Roma
(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)
Due to the international break, Roma's next match isn't until Sunday 22nd November when they will host Bari. Could Bari become the best club in the world?!
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