Gianluca Mancini headed in a late equaliser as Roma stalled Serie A title rivals Inter Milan with a 2-2 draw in Rome on Sunday.
Antonio Conte’s second-placed Inter lost further points after their eight-match winning streak ended midweek at Sampdoria.
The northeners drop three points behind leaders AC Milan who got back to winning ways in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Torino after Juventus ended their 27-match unbeaten league run during the week.
Defender Mancini got his head to a Gonzalo Villar cross four minutes from time to keep Roma three points behind Inter in third.
“I think it was a good match, played well in the first half too, against Roma which have the same objectives as we have and are only three points behind,” said Conte.
“Then at the end of the match, sometimes there is a certain fear in the face of an important result which prompts you to drop off.”
Conte’s side had fought back after Lorenzo Pellegrini gave Roma the lead just after quarter of an hour in the Stadio Olimpico.
Milan Skriniar headed in the equaliser 11 minutes after the break with Achraf Hakimi putting Inter ahead seven minutes later with a superb long range shot that clipped off the crossbar into the net.
Bryan Cristante came off the bench after 79 minutes and provided some impetus for the Roma midfield.
Conter made two substitution in the last 10 minute with midfielder Arturo Vidal replaced by Roberto Gagliardini and Aleksandar Kolarov coming on for Hakimi.
“Vidal was injured and asked for a substitution,” said Conte. “Hakimi also ran a lot and was losing important shots and balls.
“There are substitutions and Inter have an important squad, so I don’t see why we shouldn’t take off the bench.”
But the visitors were unable to resist the Roman pressure with goalkeeper Samir Handanovic saving Inter several times, denying Mancini from close range before being beaten by the defender after the following corner.
“We had a good first half but for 20 minutes of the second half we weren’t the same team,” said Roma coach Paulo Fonseca after a sixth consecutive draw between the two sides.
“We had 15-20 minutes in the second half which were fatal. Then when Inter scored the second goal we went back to being the same team.
“It’s not a physical question with the way we finished the game.”
Champions Juventus, in fifth, 10 points behind AC Milan with a game in hand, look to close the gap against sixth-placed Sassuolo later on Sunday in Turin.
Juventus and Inter go head-to-head in the San Siro next weekend, with Roma back at the Stadio Olimpico for the capital derby against Lazio.