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Inter retain Serie A lead
Nerazzurri go top again with win over Catania as Sampdoria smash Bologna.
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2009 21:35 GMT

Inter's Patrick Vieira fends off Gennaro Delvecchio [GALLO/GETTY]
Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan beat Catania 2-1 in Italy's Serie A to reclaim the top spot after Sampdoria had defeated Bologna 4-1 earlier in the day to briefly lead the standings.

Sulley Muntari and Wesley Sneijder scored for Inter, who led 2-0 at half-time at the San Siro, despite Giuseppe Mascara scoring a late penalty for Catania.

Sampdoria fired home four first-half goals, Daniele Mannini hitting two and Giampaolo Pazzini and Reto Ziegler adding one each before Paolo Osvaldo picked up a second-half consolation goal for Bologna.

Inter lead the standings with 22 points, two ahead of Sampdoria.

"I think this reflects all the work we do in the week.

"Tonight, we were ready for Catania,'' Inter defender Ivan Cordoba said.

"Matches like this are always difficult and we mustn't forget that. We had to work hard in the second half to take control of the situation.''

Early lead

Inter took the lead in the 13th minute when Muntari hit a cross into the area toward Samuel Eto'o. The Cameroon international failed to reach the ball, but it bounced over goalkeeper Andrea Campagnolo.

Ezequiel Carboni soon forced Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar into pushing his powerful drive away for a corner, but that was his best effort of the first half.

Patrick Vieira hit the bar in the 27th, but Wesley Sneijder curled in a free kick to double Inter's lead four minutes later.

In the second half, both sides appeared happy to play out the match until Mascara slotted home a penalty in the 84th after Cesar had fouled Gianvito Plasmate.

Cassano firing

Serie A fixtures

Saturday October 24

 Inter Milan 2-1 Catania
 Sampdoria 4-1 Bologna

Sunday October 25

 Atalanta v Parma
 Bari v Lazio
 Cagliari v Genoa
 Chievo v AC Milan
 Fiorentina v Napoli
 Palermo v Udinese
 Roma v Livorno

Striker Antonio Cassano was crucial to everything Sampdoria did in attack, raising further questions over Italy coach Marcello Lippi's inability to find a place for him in the national squad.

Cassano floated a cross in from the right for Pazzini to score his sixth goal of the season in the seventh minute.

Pazzini played with a protective face mask after breaking his nose in a collision with Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Mulsera last week.

Pazzini then flicked on Cassano's cross for Mannini to volley home Sampdoria's second in the 16th. Ten minutes later, Ziegler turned Bologna's Nicola Mudingayi and fired past goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano from long range.

Mannini headed home the fourth goal in the 33rd from another cross by Cassano.

Bologna scored when Daniele Portanova's header hit the crossbar from a free kick, and Osvaldo reached the rebound first to beat goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi in the 62nd.

"It was a great first half and we controlled the game for 30 to 40 minutes,'' Mannini said.

"It is a reward for all the hard work we have been doing. We're playing attractive football, we're scoring goals and we're enjoying the season. We should be happy with our performance tonight.''

Source:
Agencies
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