[QODLink]
Football
Dream debut sparks Inter comeback
Giampaolo Pazzini weighs in with two goals and wins penalty as Italian champs roar back from 2-0 down to beat Palermo.
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2011 22:33 GMT
Pazzini celebrates with Houssine Kharja as he makes a vital impact on his debut for Inter Milan [AFP]

Substitute Giampaolo Pazzini scored twice and won a penalty on a dream debut as Serie A champions Inter Milan roared back from 2-0 down to beat visiting Palermo 3-2 in an enthralling encounter at the San Siro.

Second-placed Napoli also put on a show, thrashing Pazzini's now toothless former club Sampdoria 4-0 with rampant Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani netting another hat-trick as they cut the gap with leaders AC Milan back to four points.

Faltering Juventus lost again, 2-1 at home to in-form Udinese, as the gulf in class between the fallen Turin giants and the other top teams continues to be apparent.

In one of the best matches of the season, fourth-placed Inter found themselves trailing to first-half goals from Fabrizio Miccoli and Antonio Nocerino despite dominating on Sunday.

Pazzini, signed on Friday, was thrown on at the break and soon scored with a superb turn-and-shot before Palermo's Javier Pastore had a penalty saved by fit-again Julio Cesar.

Serie A results

Saturday January 29

 Catania 0-2 AC Milan
 Lazio 2-0 Fiorentina

Sunday January 30

 Bologna A-A Roma
 Brescia 0-3 Chievo
 Cagliari 2-1 Bari
 Genoa 3-1 Parma
 Inter Milan 3-2 Palermo
 Juventus 1-2 Udinese
 Lecce 1-1 Cesena
 Napoli 4-0 Sampdoria

A = Abandoned

Leaping like a salmon for a trademark goal, Pazzini then planted a bullet header into the bottom corner from Maicon's free kick and Samuel Eto'o completed the victory from the spot 14 minutes from time after Pazzini was pulled back.

'Difficult to forget'

"It was impossible to think it would go like this, it seems like a dream," Italy forward Pazzini told Sky TV.

"It's been an extraordinary afternoon full of emotion, joy and satisfaction. It's a day that will be difficult to forget."

Inter coach Leonardo, whose side lost their first match under his month-long stewardship last weekend at Udinese, took a big gamble at 2-0 down at halftime by sending on Pazzini and fellow new signing Houssine Kharja.

The European champions were already ravaged by injury and suspension and the substitutions made them even more unbalanced with Pazzini lining up in a front three with Eto'o and Diego Milito which is unlikely to suit his game long-term.

However, in the end, sheer will dragged Inter through and they stay nine behind Milan, 2-0 winners at Catania on Saturday.

Roma's game at Bologna was abandoned at 0-0 after 18 minutes because of snow, meaning they slipped to fifth as news of their impending sale seems imminent.

Juventus dropped to seventh as their outside title hopes took another blow after Cristian Zapata and a late goal by Alexis Sanchez gave Udinese a comeback win following Claudio Marchisio's acrobatic opener for the hosts.

Juve's Leonardo Bonucci and Sanchez were sent off late on, while misfit striker Amauri was omitted amid speculation he could leave on Monday's transfer deadline day with the desperate Turin side keen on Cagliari's Alessandro Matri, who scored twice as the Sardinians beat beleaguered bottom team Bari 2-1.

Brescia coach Mario Beretta was replaced by Beppe Iachini after the second-bottom side lost 3-0 at home to Chievo.

Lecce drew 1-1 with relegation rivals Cesena and mid-table Genoa bucked up having suffered from the sale of their top players with a 3-1 win over Parma.

Source:
Reuters
Topics in this article
People
Country
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
More than 400 gaming dens operate on native lands, but critics say social ills and inequality stack the deck.
The Palestinian president is expected to address the UN with a new proposal for the creation of a Palestinian state.
Nearly 1,200 aboriginal females have been killed or disappeared over 30 years with little justice served, critics say.
Ethnic violence has wracked China's restive Xinjiang region, leading to a tight government clampdown.
Malay artists revitalise the art of puppeteering by fusing tradition with modern characters such as Darth Vader.