Vučinić injects life into Roma’s Serie A bid with late winner

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
claudio ranieri

claudio ranieri

Roma’s Mirko Vučinić scored a 92nd-minute winner to secure Claudio Ranieri’s first victory of the season and end Inter Milan’s unbeaten start to the domestic campaign.

The Giallorossi had suffered a disappointing defeat to Brescia in midweek and despite a much-improved performance on Saturday, Ranieri believes the wounds of Wednesday night have not fully healed.

“We got some medicine tonight, but we are still not healed; a victory over Inter is always good for the team,” said Ranieri. “It is a win for the collective, for being united throughout.”

The former Chelsea manager selected an offensive line-up, deploying Francesco Totti, Macro Borriello and Jeremy Menez. With both sides unable to break the deadlock, Ranieri introduced Montenegrin Vučinić who snatched a dramatic late winner to secure a vital three points.

Left-back John Arne Riise whipped in a dangerous cross from the right-side of midfield which was met by the head of the diving Vučinić.

Totti, Roma’s captain, was visibly disappointed when he was replaced by Vučinić. The 33-year-old forward stormed down the tunnel without a word to the Roma staff, but in the post-match press conference Ranieri was quick to dismiss suggestions of any damage to the pair’s relationship.

“I was aware that Francesco had fought like a lion, but it was an important move,” Ranieri explained. “These are the moments that can make a coach. I wanted to introduce Mirko because he can create problems with his speed and I saw that Lucio was not well.

“It is normal that a player feels bad after being replaced, but with a cool head tomorrow, he will be much calmer.”

Meanwhile, Inter boss Rafael Benítez blamed “a lack of intensity” for the goal conceded in added time. The former Liverpool manager also reflected upon his side’s wasted opportunities.

“Against Bari [on Wednesday], we turned in a very good performance, but it is not hard to play every few days,” said Benítez. “We had three or four good chances to go deep into the Roma half but we have not taken advantage of them.”

The Nerazzuri remain top of Serie A but Chievo and Brescia can move ahead of the defending champions with victories later today against Lazio and Bari respectively.


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