Inter Milan retain four-point lead over Roma

April 7th, 2008 - 12:25 pm ICT by admin  

Milan, April 7 (DPA) Titleholders Inter Milan won 2-0 against Atalanta to retain their four-point lead atop the Serie A standings over Roma with six games to go. Roma edged Genoa 3-2 Saturday, keeping up a pursuit that saw them whittle an 11-point gap as Inter slowed the impressive pace displayed in the first half of the season.

There was no marked game improvement for Inter Sunday, who were still able to resume their winning ways - after two draws and a loss -through goals Sunday in Bergamo from veteran Patrick Vieira and the young Mario Balotelli.

Atalanta beat AC Milan 2-1 a week ago, and they produced a brisk start against Inter but did not create any telling chance in the first half, save a wide shot from Ferreira Pinto.

Esteban Cambiasso fired high for Inter on 11 minutes before the towering Vieira headed home a corner kick, triggering the fierce protests of Atalanta defenders claiming a foul from the Frenchman.

Sergio Floccari opened the second half for Atalanta aiming a feeble drive and a header, but Inter controlled the game until the 17-year-old Balotelli secured a crucial win, finishing off a counterattack.

“It was a good game on a difficult pitch against an in-form team. My men did not leave too much room to Atalanta, and Vieira did a great goal,” Inter coach Roberto Mancini said.

“Balotelli is very young, and he doesn’t have too many worries, so it was natural for him to play a good game.”

Milan beat troubled visitors Cagliari 3-1 Saturday, but remained four points behind Fiorentina, who beat bottom side Reggina 2-0 Sunday to retain the fourth available Champions League berth.

The elite continental tournament remains at hand for third-place Juventus after a 3-2 defeat late Sunday at Palermo.

Juve captain Alessandro Del Piero scored a brace to level two first-half goals from Brazilian Amauri, but the Sicily hosts clinched a late win through a smashing drive by defender Mattia Cassani.

Catania welcomed new coach Walter Zenga moving away from the danger zone through a 3-0 hammering of Napoli, and Empoli also improved a troubled position, winning 1-0 at Torino.

Empoli changed coaches this week, recalling Luigi Cagni to replace Alberto Malesani, who had taken over in mid-season.

Udinese drew 1-1 at Siena, Lazio drew 2-2 at lowly Parma, and Sampdoria beat struggling Livorno 2-0.

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