Two lightning strikes from Mauro Icardi flipped Roma's world upside down as the Giallorossi failed to capitalise on a 1-0 first-half lead and long periods of dominance, collapsing at the Stadio Olimpico, thanks to Inter Milan's ruthless centre-forward and a late tap-in from Matias Vecino.
Everything looked rosy in the Eternal City when Edin Dzeko collected Radja Nainggolan's Platini-esque chipped pass and fired home a beautiful 15th-minute opener -- his 50th in a Roma shirt. That was as good as it got for Eusebio Di Francesco's team, however, who were extremely unlucky to crack the woodwork three times through Kevin Strootman, Nainggolan and Roma's man of the match Diego Perotti when they had Inter firmly planted on their back foot.
Once Icardi crashed home his brilliantly taken equaliser in the 67th minute the tide turned rapidly, and the away side finished the game looking like they could happily score a couple more. Two weeks of reflection now await, when the best thing for Roma would be to play another match as soon as possible.
The encouraging signs of an hour of superb football aren't enough to forget what is a bit of an embarrassing beating at the hands of former coach Luciano Spalletti, who defiantly rammed prematch insults and boos down his former fans' throats.
For a good hour, after a wobbly first 15 minutes, Roma dominated Inter, and for the first time the team implemented the style of play that new coach Di Francesco wants to see. It made for exciting viewing, with Diego Perotti's darts down the left in particular causing gasps of excitement from the rowdy Olimpico. To hold off Inter's talented front line for so long with a makeshift back line containing Juan Jesus at right-back, is an achievement in itself.
Two lapses in concentration from Federico Fazio were coldly punished by Icardi, a striker of rare precision, but once again Roma crumbled when it came on top. There was only ever going to be one winner from that point, and in the end Roma came away from Saturday night lucky not to have lost even more heavily. There are kinks in Di Francesco's system that still need ironing out.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Di Francesco set his team up well, and for long stretches of the game Inter had real trouble getting out of danger areas and building plays. He struggled to respond once Icardi finally wriggled free from Fazio and Kostas Manolas, but given the number of injuries he has had to deal with there wasn't a huge amount he could change.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 -- Spent most of the match dealing oddly with back passes. Couldn't be faulted for any of the goals.
DF Juan Jesus, 6 -- The second solid performance in as many weeks, this time played out of position at right back, was ruined by a bad clearance that led to Icardi's first.
DF Kostas Manolas, 6 -- Let down a bit by his central defensive partner. Good as ever in his one-on-one duels.
DF Federico Fazio, 4 -- It was all going so well until he drifted away from Icardi for Inter's equaliser. After that he went to bits, and lost Icardi again for his equally well-taken second.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 7 -- Covered the flank like the old pro he is, came just about on top in his battle with Antonio Candreva and contributed to attacks with threatening crosses.
MF Radja Nainggolan, 7 -- Mostly the Radja of old. A sensational pass to set up Dzeko and unlucky to crack the post with a sizzling first-half strike. Losing the ball stupidly in the run-up to Inter's third somewhat ruined his night though.
MF Daniele De Rossi, 6 -- An odd night. Part drifting in the wind, part rock in front of the defence.
MF Kevin Strootman, 6 -- Another one unlucky to hit the post with a skidding shot. Faded a bit in the second half after a powerful first.
FW Gregoire Defrel, 5 -- Plenty of sweat, little of substance. Outshone by Perotti.
FW Edin Dzeko, 7 -- A beautifully taken goal from his first and only true chance, and battled with Inter all night.
FW Diego Perotti, 8 -- The best the Argentine has played in ages. Gave Danilo D'Ambrosio a torrid time with great dribbling, smacked the post and put in belting crosses all night.
FW Stephan El Shaarawy, 6 -- Unlucky to see his dinky chip spectacularly cleared away by Dalbert. More of a threat than Defrel.
MF Cengiz Under, N/R -- Looked bright but didn't have enough time to change things.
FW Marco Tumminello, N/R -- A run out with the match already done.