Inter Milan defender Francesco Acerbi has won praise for his man-marking job on Roma striker Romelu Lukaku.
Today’s print edition of Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport, via FCInterNews, highlight how the 35-year-old kept Lukaku quiet all evening.
It always seemed clear that Lukaku would be Roma’s most potent attacking weapon.
Given that the Giallorossi were without the likes of Paulo Dybala and Lorenzo Pellegrini due to injury, they were looking to the Belgian international to give them a foothold in the final third.
And Inter will have been well aware of what Lukaku is capable of.
After all, the former Manchester United, Chelsea, and Everton striker had spent three seasons in total wearing the Nerazzurri shirt.
But Inter coach Simone Inzaghi put his trust in veteran defender Acerbi to stop the 30-year-old.
And the Italian international repaid his coach’s trust.
Francesco Acerbi Praised For Keeping Romelu Lukaku Quiet
Acerbi was hardly the only player responsible for stopping Lukaku.
The other defenders and Inter’s team as a whole also made sure to both make sure there was little space for the Belgian to run into, and few opportunities to deliver the ball to his feet.
But the player who went directly head-to-head with the Belgian was Acerbi.
And the former Lazio and Sassuolo defender definitely won that battle.
Acerbi stuck close to Lukaku. This was very similar to the job that he did on Manchester City star Erling Haaland in the Champions League final at the end of last season.
But at the same time, the Inter defender did not let the Belgian roll him.
Therefore, on the occasions where Roma managed to work the ball up the pitch, Lukaku was not really an outlet.
The Giallorossi striker rarely received the ball and created anything resembling threat. This was a big part of why Inter’s penalty area looked essentially secure all evening long.