Inter Milan stretch lead in Serie A

November 23rd, 2008 - 9:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Rome, Nov 23 (DPA) A goal by Ghana’s Sulley Muntari allowed champions Inter Milan to edge out visiting Juventus 1-0 and move six points clear of their opponents atop of the Serie A.Juventus lost their midfield setup after two minutes when Portuguese Tiago Cardoso Mendes hurt himself and had to be replaced by the young Claudio Marchisio, as Inter produced massive attacks throughout the first half Saturday .

Dejan Stankovic tried to finish off a counterattack in the 12th minute but met the rough tackle of two Juve defenders and saw Alex Manninger save his header shortly afterward.

Swede star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the 25th minute fired a first shot that caused no problems to Manninger before Sulley Muntari nodded wide off a free kick.

Juve suffered in their midfield but ran a first real risk in the 33rd minute, when a blunder from Nicola Legrottaglie set Ibra free to storm toward the area, only to fire wide past the diving Manninger.

Inter second striker Adriano saw his first attempt deflected in the 35th minute, and home goalkeeper Julio Cesar made a first save in the 43rd minute, slapping away a long-range lob from Marchisio.

A much harder deflection from Manninger on a smashing Muntari drive closed a first half that ended without goals despite Intre’s relentless pressure.

The champions’ pace slowed after the break, and Ibra missed his second chance in the 65th minute, again firing wide, but the Swede favoured Muntari’s goal in the 72nd minute, when another squandered shot allowed the Ghanaian midfielder to beat Manninger from close range.

There were virtually no chances for Juve’s reaction despite the fielding of Mauro Camoranesi and Vicenzo Iaquinta as Inter maintained a good control in midfield.

Julio Cesar, however, had to make a prodigious save in the 83rd minutes to stop a nasty header by Alessandro Del Piero.

Earlier Saturday, Fiorentina came from behind to beat visiting Udinese 4-2 and remain seven points from Inter, thanks to a brace from Riccardo Montolivo.

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