Romalu Lukaku denied as Inter share the points with Roma

Goalless draw in Serie A match overshadowed by racism controversy

Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan v AS Roma - San Siro, Milan, Italy - December 6, 2019   AS Roma's Chris Smalling and Inter Milan's Romelu Lukaku before the match    REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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Romelu Lukaku's Serie A leaders Inter Milan were held to a goalless draw by Chris Smalling's Roma, allowing Juventus a chance to retake top spot this weekend.

The build-up to the San Siro showdown was overshadowed by a controversial front page in Italian daily Corriere dello Sport. The newspaper was accused of fuelling racism after running the headline 'Black Friday' alongside pictures of Inter's Lukaku and Roma's Smalling.

The cover attracted widespread criticism, with on-loan Roma defender Smalling describing it as "wrong and highly insensitive" while his former Manchester United team-mate Lukaku called it the "dumbest of headlines".

The pair both started Friday's encounter, where Lukaku came close to netting early on with a shot that Roma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante parried away.

Neither side could find the breakthrough though as Inter saw their five-match winning streak in Serie A come to an end. They are now two points clear of reigning champions Juve, while Roma climbed up to fourth.

Inter coach Antonio Conte said: "These are the games where you have to score goals because we had the chances and we forced them to make errors with our pressure and the runs from midfield.

"We could have been more determined in front of goal and we would have brought home the three points."

"We made some wrong choices in the final third of the field but we played well," said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca. "There were some moments where we were in complete control of the match.

"We tried to play without fear. We made some mistakes but I want courage."