Inter Milan move atop Serie A

September 25th, 2008 - 4:01 pm ICT by IANS  

AC MilanMilan, Sep 25 (DPA) Inter Milan took the lead in the Serie A by beating promoted guests Lecce 1-0 Wednesday to move two points clear of Juventus, who drew 1-1 at home to Catania.In the fourth round of the league, Lazio beat Fiorentina 3-0 and lie joint second on nine points with Atalanta, who beat Cagliari 1-0 and trail 10-point champions Inter.

A free kick that Zlatan Ibrahimovic slammed against the bar was Inter’s only first-half chance against Lecce, as Brazil striker Adriano failed to nod home two inviting crosses.

The guests’ good defence seemed to work in the second half until substitute Julio Cruz surprised them in the 78th minute with a fast shot off an Ibrahimovic assist.

Sparkling Juventus have eight points as they had to settle for a draw with Catania despite massive attacks and two efforts that shook the guests’ woodwork.

Juve had some difficulties as Catania’s gritty start produced a dangerous wide volley from Argentinian Matias Silvestre in the sixth minute.

A ruthless Amauri, however, scored his third goal to put the Turin hosts one up on 15 minutes on his side’s first attempt. The Brazilian nodded home a cross from young playmaker Sebastian Giovinco, who made his season debut.

Catania kept pressing hard, showing no respect for the powerhouse, but found Alex Manninger ready to block two more first-half attempts as he filled in for the injured Gianluigi Buffon.

A close-range effort from Amauri went begging in the 51st minute as did a similar attempt from Giovinco, before Gianvito Plasmati levelled on 68 minutes thanks partly to a fumbled a clearance from Giorgio Chiellini.

Juve’s furious pressing saw both Alessandro Del Piero and Amauri nod against the bar in the 70th minute, before Juve incredibly missed more mouthwatering chances.

“In the last half hour we tried all we could, but the ball just did not want to get into the goal,” said Juve coach Claudio Ranieri.

“Giovinco inspired many actions, and in other occasions we were unlucky and hit the bar. There were many missed chances. Hopefully, there will be games when just two chances will be enough to score.”

AC Milan continued their recovery, beating Reggina 2-1 with goals from Marco Borriello and Brazil’s Pato for a second win after two defeats, while Roma are still in trouble after a 3-1 drubbing suffered with 10 men at Genoa, whose Argentinian Diego Milito scored a brace.

Napoli won 2-1 in a southern Italy derby with Palermo to move level with Juve on eight points, Udinese won 3-0 over 10-man Bologna, Chievo and Torino drew 1-1, and Siena and Sampdoria drew 0-0.

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