Juventus close in on leaders Inter Milan

January 12th, 2009 - 1:33 pm ICT by IANS  

AC MilanRome, Jan 12 (DPA) A free kick from Alessandro Del Piero helped Juventus beat Siena 1-0 to move within four points of Serie A leaders Inter Milan.Inter, on 43 points from 18 games, were far from convincing Saturday as they had to come back against Cagliari, the visitors from the island of Sardinia. Juve also played below par Sunday, but managed to seize the three points after a three-week winter break.

At Turin’s Stadio Olimpico, Del Piero netted the only goal of the game after 33 minutes of a fairly slow-paced affair, sending a swerving right-footed shot by the first post to stun goalkeeper Emanuele Manitta.

The veteran captain and Brazil striker Amauri failed to increase Juve’s lead, who ran risks for the remainder of the game not least because of the efforts of Siena’s Frenchmen Houssine Kharja and Abdelkader Ghezzal.

Austrian Alex Manninger continued to keep goal for the long-time injured Gianluigi Buffon, who delayed his return for one more week, and was on hand to block the threats from the Tuscany guests.

Braces from the young Brazilian Pato and Montenegro’s Mirko Vucinic settled a spectacular 2-2 draw between Roma and guests AC Milan, now lying third with a nine-point deficit.

Roma’s Vucinic, in the first half, connected with a cross from John Riise and had the best of Marek Jankulovski to beat goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. The striker closed the scoring in the 71st minutes with a diving header pouncing on a loose ball.

After falling behind, Milan produced a fairly slow and fruitless game with barely sufficient support from new arrival David Beckham on the right flank, but Pato took care of reversing the score early in the second half.

The 19-year-old flicked home off a Kaka low cross and burst on the left flank stunning Alexander Doni with a classy lob.

The resumption of the league was bitter for Fiorentina as lowly Lecce stunned them 2-1 at home, keeping the Florence side level in joint-fifth position with Genoa, who beat Torino 3-0 Saturday.

Napoli also seemed to have gained little from the Christmas rest, but managed to edge visiting Catania 1-0 through a goal from Christian Maggio.

Palermo beat Bergamo guests Atalanta 3-2 in a sparkling game that saw the Sicily hosts take a two-goal lead and clinch the win through a goal from Uruguay’s Edison Cavani.

Udinese and Sampdoria drew 1-1, Lazio won 3-2 at lowly Reggina through a hat-trick from Macedonian Goran Pandev, now level on eight goals with his Argentine teammate Mauro Zarate, who fed him two great assists.

The Serie A top scorer Marco Di Vaio boasts 13 goals after helping Bologna come back to clinch a 1-1 draw with bottom side Chievo.

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