[QODLink]
Sport
Inter teeter at top of Serie A
Leaders lose lead with 3-1 defeat at Catania to give Milan chance to go within a point.
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2010 06:55 GMT
Nose for trouble: Milito scored the opener but Inter crashed to a 3-1 defeat [AFP]

Inter Milan threw away the lead to lose 3-1 at lowly Catania and blow open the Serie A title race in almost comical fashion as Sulley Muntari came on, conceded a penalty and was sent off in the space of two minutes.

The Italian leaders, who visit Chelsea in their European Champions League last-16 second leg on Tuesday with a 2-1 advantage, could see their domestic lead slashed to a point if second-placed AC Milan beat visiting Chievo on Sunday.

Ghanaian substitute Muntari had only been on the pitch a minute when he committed a foul.

He then handled Giuseppe Mascara's resultant free kick to concede a penalty and was also sent off for a second yellow card – two minutes after coming on.

Mascara converted the spot kick nine minutes from time with a chipped finish to put the hosts 2-1 up following Maxi Lopez's opener, and Jorge Martinez added a third in the 90th minute.

"Inter are the strongest team in the championship but tonight we have shown that when we play with grit and determination we can beat anybody," Uruguayan forward Martinez told Sky TV on Friday.

Off-form Inter

Inter, who have won just once in six league games having appeared to be cruising to a fifth straight scudetto, went ahead early in the second half through Diego Milito but fellow Argentine forward Maxi Lopez equalised on 74 minutes.

Results & fixtures

Friday March 12

 
Catania 3-1 Inter Milan

Saturday March 13

 
Napoli v Fiorentina

Sunday March 14

 
Bologna v Sampdoria
 Genoa v Cagliari
 Juventus v Siena
 Lazio v Bari
 Livorno v Roma
 Parma v Atalanta
 Udinese v Palermo
 AC Milan v Chievo Verona

"Until we took the lead we controlled the game then we paid for a lack of concentration," said Inter technical director Marco Branca.

"We knew Catania were enjoying a good moment of form. We weren't thinking about Chelsea – that will be another game."

The win was sweet revenge for tough-talking Catania coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, a former Inter assistant coach who has repeatedly clashed verbally with outspoken Inter boss Jose Mourinho over the last two seasons.

Mourinho was serving the final part of a three-match touchline ban but looked to have produced a masterstroke at half time following an even first period.

He introduced winger Ricardo Quaresma, who troubled the home defence, and Milito was soon on the scoresheet after the consistently impressive Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o had combined to set up his 16th league goal of the campaign.

However, just when the close-season buy from Genoa looked to have sealed yet another Inter win, sixth-from-bottom Catania stormed back to inflict the third league defeat of the season on the champions with 10 games left.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
About 500,000 participated around the globe in the Peoples Climate March, and Al Jazeera spoke to some in New York.
Separatist movements in Spain, Belgium and Italy may face headwinds following Scotland's decision to stay in the UK.
A fishing trawler carrying 500 migrants across the Mediterranean was rammed by another boat, causing hundreds to drown.
Anti-immigration Sweden Democrats party - with roots in the neo-Nazi movement - recently won 12.9 percent of the vote.
Palestinian doctor who lost three daughters in previous Gaza war is fighting to bring 100 wounded kids to Canada.