Soccer

Roma strike late to fend off Inter Milan, split points in draw

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 19: Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the goal 1-1 during the Serie A match between AS Roma and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Olimpico on March 19, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 19: Radja Nainggolan of AS Roma celebrates after scoring the goal 1-1 during the Serie A match between AS Roma and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Olimpico on March 19, 2016 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)

ROME -- Roma kept its grip on the third Champions League qualifying place in Serie A by drawing with Inter Milan 1-1 on Saturday.

Inter badly needed to win but stays five points behind Roma with eight rounds left. The visitors took a second-half lead through Ivan Perisic's left-footed shot then sat back as Roma pressed for a leveler.

It finally came in the 84th minute when midfielder Radja Nainggolan seized on a miscued shot by Edin Dzeko to score with a sweeping shot.

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Inter rises to fourth, but fifth-place Fiorentina can close on Roma when it plays at lowly Frosinone on Sunday.

Roma stays third, four points behind second-place Napoli.

Earlier, Empoli and relegation-threatened Palermo drew 0-0. The point lifted Palermo provisionally two points clear of Frosinone in the third relegation place.