Inter Milan stretch lead in Italian Serie AFebruary 16th, 2009 - 1:34 pm ICT by IANS
Rome, Feb 16 (DPA) Serie A leaders Inter Milan took a firm step toward retaining the title as goals from Brazilian Adriano and Dejan Stankovic gave them a 2-1 win over AC Milan in a classic city derby.
The champions moved on to 56 points from 24 games after Sunday’s win, widening their advantage on second-place Juventus to nine points, while Milan trail on 45 points.
At the Giuseppe Meazza, Zlatan Ibrahimovic threatened for Inter with an early high header as both teams displayed bold attack-geared tactics.
The reigning champions came close again on 18 minutes when a desperate tackle from Massimo Ambrosini stopped Stankovic as the Serb tried to fire home from few metres off.
A first chance for Milan brought no fruits three minutes later when Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar slapped away a nasty cross from Ronaldinho as Pato missed a close-range volley.
There was much to complain for Milan when Adriano put Inter ahead on 29 minutes with a clumsy header that sent the ball against his own arm before inflating the net.
No telling reaction came from Milan in the remainder of the first half, while Adriano had a low drive saved before Stankovic on 43 minutes scored bursting into the area to fire home off an assist nodded by Ibrahimovic.
Adriano opened the second half misfiring after a poor clearance from Kakha Kaladze, while Ibra on the hour forced a great save from Christian Abbiati.
The young Brazilian Pato halved the gap on 71 minutes connecting with a low feed from Marek Jankulovski, but Abbiati had to block an Adriano break and prevent a header from Ibra.
A last incredible save from Julio Cesar denied substitute Filippo Inzaghi as he tried to clinch a late equaliser.
Earlier Sunday, Juventus’ Brazilian Amauri levelled the opener from Sampdoria’s Giampaolo Pazzini for a 1-1 draw.
Ten-man Genoa drew 3-3 against Fiorentina, who rallied from three goals down through a hat-trick from Adrian Mutu and retained the fourth available Champions League berth.
Securing a berth in the next continental tournament became harder for Roma after a harsh 3-0 beating away to in-form Atalanta, whose captain Cristiano Doni scored a brace after Daniele Capelli’s opener.
Palermo drew 0-0 at tail-enders Reggina, Cagliari kept up their good pace with a 2-0 win over Lecce, Siena and Udinese drew 1-1 and lowly Chievo also drew 1-1 with Catania. On Saturday, Lazio-Torino and Napoli-Bologna both ended on a 1-1 draw.