Inter cut Milan's lead to two

Single goal enough to beat lowly Lecce as defending champions ensure they will go top if they win Milan derby.

    Inter coach Leonardo could get one over on his former employers in the Milan derby in April [AFP]

    Inter Milan moved to within two points of rivals AC Milan at the top of Serie A after edging past Lecce 1-0 at the San Siro.

    Also in Italy on Sunday, Juventus returned to winning ways and Francesco Totti bagged his 200th strike in the top flight.

    After Milan had gone down 1-0 at Palermo on Saturday, Giampaolo Pazzini's 52nd-minute strike was enough for a sluggish Inter to claim the three points against Lecce who battled until the last.

    The win means Inter will go top should they defeat Milan in their next match – the Milan derby coming up on April 3 following the break for international matches.

    Swarmed

    Inter, fresh from their European Champions league success against Bayern Munich, swarmed all over Lecce from the kickoff.
     
    Wesley Sneijder curled an effort too close to Antonio Rosati after five minutes before bending a free kick into the side netting with 20 minutes on the clock.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday March 19

     Lazio 1-0 Cesena
     Palermo 1-0 AC Milan

    Sunday March 20

     
    Bari 1-2 Chievo
     Bologna 1-1 Genoa
     Inter Milan 1-0 Lecce
     Juventus 2-1 Brescia
     Sampdoria 0-1 Parma
     Udinese 2-0 Catania
     Fiorentina 2-2 Roma
     Napoli v Cagliari

     

    But Lecce were far from overawed and frustrated the champions by defending solidly and breaking at pace.

    Inter moved up the gears at the start of the second half.

    Pazzini, moments after seeing a header saved, spun his man just inside the box and finished unerringly into the corner.

    Lecce, third from bottom, refused to give up and only a fine save from Julio Cesar with minutes to go prevented Andrea Bertolacci from grabbing a point for the southern Italian side.

    In-form Udinese moved third level with Napoli, who host Cagliari in Sunday's late game, after goals from Goekhan Inler and a penalty from Antonio Di Natale saw Udinese defeat Catania 2-0 for their fourth straight win.

    Inler's strike from distance opened the scoring halfway through the first half before Di Natale grabbed his 25th goal of the season with a 74th minute penalty.

    In Turin, a superb Alessandro Del Piero strike midway through the second half brought Juventus their first win in six matches with a 2-1 success over 10-man Brescia.

    Citadin Eder had earlier equalised an early Milos Krasic strike before Victor Mareco saw red.

    Juventus move back to seventh, five points behind Roma who occupy the last European qualifying slot, and the win took some pressure off under-fire coach Gigi Delneri.

    In Sunday's early match, Roma and Fiorentina played out an entertaining 2-2 draw at the Artemio Franchi stadium where Francesco Totti reached the milestone of 200 goals in Serie A.

    The Roma skipper struck his second double in a week as Roma twice pegged back the improving away side who had gone ahead in the first half through Adrian Mutu and Alessandro Gamberini.

    The draw maintains coach Vincenzo Montella's unbeaten start in the league as Roma stay sixth, six points off the Champions league spots.
     
    Totti, on 201 goals in Serie A, is now within four of Roberto Baggio who lies fifth in the all-time list.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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