11th April, 1998 – Before the 1997-98 Serie A season got underway, Massimo Moratti appointed Luigi Simoni as manager with hopes of finally ending the title drought.
The team was also relying on Ronaldo to stay healthy and lead the team to a Scudetto. To strengthen their chances, the team added Diego Simeone, Francesco Moriero and Alvaro Recoba during the summer transfer window.
Ending the previous campaign only two wins short of champions Juventus, the season started with high hopes from the Nerazzurri faithful.
For round twenty-nine of the Serie A campaign, Inter traveled to Rome to take on Zdenek Zeman’s offensive minded AS Roma side who were also struggling defensively.
The Romans had failed to find any consistency, being unable to string together a series of wins. Going into the match against Inter, they had only won more than two games in a row once all season.
With the Nerazzurri already securing a comprehensive 3-0 win at San Siro earlier on in the season, the visitors had the upper hand in the match.
Starting for Zeman and AS Roma were, Michael Konsel, Cafu, Aldair, Fabio Petruzzi, Vincent Candela, Eusebio Di Francesco, Luigi Di Biagio, Damiano Tommasi, Paolo Sergio, Abel Balbo and Francesco Totti.
For the visiting Nerazzurri side, starting eleven were Gianluca Pagliuca, Giuseppe Bergomi, Taribo West, Francesco Colonnese, Luigi Sartor, Javier Zanetti, Diego Simeone, Ze Elias, Benoit Cauet, Youri Djorkaeff and Ronaldo.
In the first half, Roma seem to be in firm control of the match. They retained more possession and managed more shots on goal in the first half.
The attacking style of Zeman was causing some problems for the Nerazzurri as the Giallorossi young star Francesco Totti kept getting the ball on the left wing in an attempt to either cross in the ball or cut inside and take a shot on target. Pagliuca had a busy first half but managed to retain a clean sheet.
On the other end, Inter played strictly on counter-attack, often leaving Ronaldo isolated at the top without any service.
Zanetti made a number of runs forward in attempts of finding Ronaldo, however was unable to do so. The high-press from Roma made life difficult for the visiting Nerazzurri side and prevented them from retaining possession and imposing themselves in the match.
The match went into half-time at 0-0, however it didn’t stay like that for too long. Around the fifty minute mark, Ronaldo received a lobbed pass bypassing the Roma defensive line and comfortably dribbled around the goalkeeper to score the first goal of the match.
Roma didn’t take long to tie the match at 1-1, around sixty third minute mark, a defensive error from Giuseppe Bergomi let Cafu through on goal who easily tucked the ball in the bottom left corner to tie the game at Stadio Olimpico.
The match had briefly opened up for the Nerazzurri as the Romans had to commit more men forward in hopes of getting a tying goal, leading to more counter-attack scoring opportunities for Inter. However before they could capitalize the game was tied at 1-1.
As the game went on and the Giallorossi defenders got tired, Ronaldo’s pace and powerful runs forward were getting harder to defend for the Roma defenders as the dynamic Brazilian continued to get open and causing all sorts of problems for the home team.
Around the seventy-fifth minute, Ronaldo made a darting run forward past the defenders and dribbled past the goal-keeper again to score his second and the game winning goal for the visitors to swing the match in favor of Inter at 2-1 scoreline.
The Roman onslaught came on late in the match yet again, however Inter defenses and brilliance of Pagliuca kept the team ahead and Nerazzurri walked away from Stadio Olimpico as 2-1 winners.