Soccer

Roma, Inter battle to draw in half-closed Stadio Olimpico

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The Canadian Press
3/1/2014 5:00:28 PM
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ROME - With nearly half the stadium closed to fans as punishment for territorial chants, not much was missed in a 0-0 draw between second-place Roma and fifth-place Inter Milan in Serie A on Saturday.

Both sides came closest to scoring in the first half, when Roma had a goal from Mattia Destro waved off for offside and Inter's Rodrigo Palacio headed high.

"A draw was a fair result. Neither squad had many chances," Roma midfielder Miralem Pjanic said.

The draw moved Roma provisionally within eight points of Juventus, which is heading toward its third consecutive title. Inter moved two points ahead of Hellas Verona in the race for the final Europa League spot.

Roma had won eight straight at home — seven in Serie A and one in the Italian Cup.

On Sunday, Juventus visits AC Milan, third-place Napoli plays at Livorno, and fourth-place Fiorentina hosts Lazio.

Roma was ordered to close the sections behind both goals, where the ultras sit, for anti-Naples chants during a cup match last month. Further insults heard against Sampdoria resulted in a third section being closed.

Some 500 fans protested the ban outside the stadium by lighting fireworks and flares.

Second-half substitute Pjanic nearly put Roma ahead in the 75th but his effort was denied with a tough save from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic.

"I could have done better but he made a good save," Pjanic said.

On the ensuing corner, Pjanic rose above the defence for a header but missed the target.

Replays could be used to ban Roma's Daniele De Rossi for physical contact with Mauro Icardi during the first half and Inter's Juan Jesus for contact with Alessio Romagnoli toward the end of the game.

Mattia Destro (Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP/Getty Images)
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