Inter Milan looks to dig in their heels in their bid to unseat Juventus, the eight-time-running champions. Prior to Friday’s eagerly anticipated showdown against top-four hopeful AS Roma, the Milan-Roma match was placed under a cloud by a racism controversy perpetrated by one of Italy’s leading sports newspapers, according to a Sky Sports report.
In Thursday’s edition, the Rome-based daily paper, Corriere dello Sport, featured a front page picture of two former Manchester United players, Romelu Lukaku of Inter and Chris Smalling of Roma, under the blaring headline, “Black Friday.”
Lukaku is from Belgium, though his parents are Congolese. Smalling is English, of Jamaican descent.
The headline was widely condemned throughout the international football world, though the paper’s editor, Ivan Zazzaroni, defended the headline, claiming that it was intended to celebrate the “magnificent wealth of diversity” in the sport, and that critics of the “Black Friday” headline “have poison inside them.”
On the pitch, however, both clubs are enjoying success under new managers. After blowing through 13 changes at the top since the departure of Jose Mourinho in 2010, Inter has finally settled into a groove under former Juventus boss Antonio Conte, winning all but two of their first 14 matches for 37 points, according to Sports Mole.
Milan’s lone defeat came in the season’s first Derby D’Italia, falling to Juventus 2-1 on October 6 at the San Siro.
AC Milan and AS Roma have both banned the Corriere dello Sport from their training facilities and contact with players until the end of the year after their 'Black Friday' headline this morning.— Goal (@goal) December 5, 2019
Serie A is taking a stand ???? pic.twitter.com/Axcc087eGZ
Roma, on the other hand, finished in sixth position in the 2018-2019 season. Under new boss Paulo Fonseca, they are currently fifth, level on points at 28 with Cagliari. An upset on the road for the Giallorossi would vault them into the top four.
In fact, a win for Roma would send them all the way to third place with 31 points, one ahead of SS Lazio. The Biancocelesti host Juventus in the weekend’s other featured Italian league match, leaving Roma with a golden opportunity to not only seize third place, but to stay there once Matchday 15 wraps up.
Playing at home, and carrying a five-match Serie A winning streak into the game, Inter Milan come in as favorites with a money line of -115, according to the sports gambling site ATS.io. The means a bet of $115 on Inter to win would bring a profit of $100.
Underdogs AS Roma come in at a money line of +290, meaning a wager of $100 would pay off $290 plus the original $100 if the visiting side pulls off the upset. The line on a draw between the two clubs is set at +280.