Inter extend their lead

Inter Milan sit comfortably at the top of Serie A as rivals Milan stumble.

    Inter look unbeatable as they chase their fifth straight Italian title [AFP]  
    Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan stormed 10 points clear at the top of Italy's Serie A with a crushing 3-0 victory over Cagliari at the San Siro, while second placed AC Milan were held to a goalless draw at Bologna.

    The Milan derby two weeks ago is a distant memory. Then, the title race seemed to be alive and kicking, with Milan knowing a victory would have left them only three points behind.

    But Milan lost, and after costly draws in their next two games, Inter look to be on course for a fifth straight scudetto. 

    Big lead

    Goals from Goran Pandev, Walter Samuel and Diego Milito earned Inter the three points that give them a seemingly unassailable lead.

    Macedonian striker Pandev slotted in a scuffed shot from Samuel Eto'o after six minutes to grab his third goal since rejoining Inter last month.

    Defender Walter Samuel then powered in a header from a corner and Argentina's Milito netted his 14th goal of the league campaign after a fine move just after the break.

    Cagliari felt hard done by when Alessandro Matri's goal was ruled out for offside despite replays suggesting otherwise.

    "We can definitely improve a lot more but I'm happy for the three points. We are only thinking about ourselves, other results don't bother us," Pandev told Sky TV.

    Milan failed to win for the fourth straight game in a 0-0 draw at struggling Bologna where winger Mancini, who signed on loan from Inter on Monday, made his debut in place of the dropped David Beckham.

    Ronaldinho came closest to breaking the deadlock as he hit the bar with a sideways bicycle kick in the second half and in injury time captain Massimo Ambrosini also hit the bar with a header

    Crowd trouble

    A fight between fans before kickoff and a scuffle in the players' tunnel marred Antonio Di Natale's hat-trick in lowly Udinese's 3-1 win over fourth-placed Napoli, who had goalscorer Christian Maggio sent off on half-time for diving.

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday February 6

     Livorno 1-1 Juventus
     Palermo 2-1 Parma

    Sunday February 7

     Atalanta 1-0 Bari
     Bologna 0-0 AC Milan
     Fiorentina 0-1 Roma
     Genoa 1-0 Chievo
     Inter Milan 3-0 Cagliari
     Lazio 0-1 Catania
     Siena 1-2 Sampdoria
     Udinese 3-1 Napoli

    Maggio's mixed afternoon began when he was booked for fouling Ghana's Kwadwo Asamoah in the box and although Morgan De Sanctis saved Di Natale's spot-kick, the Serie A top scorer volleyed home the rebound on seven minutes.

    On 21 minutes Maggio equalised as he pounced on the rebound after Samir Handanovic blocked German Denis's shot with his legs, nutmegging the Slovenian goalkeeper to equalise.

    But at the end of the first half, Fabio Quagliarella headed Denis's cross against the bar and Maggio dived in the box after collecting the follow up, promptly picking up his second booking.

    Napoli fought spiritedly with 10 men and Michele Pazienza hit the post in the last minute but Di Natale broke Napoli hearts with two goals in injury time.

    The defeat was Napoli's first in the league for 16 games under coach Walter Mazzarri.

    Sampdoria's 2-1 win at bottom side Siena meant the Genoa club climbed to sixth spot, above free-falling Juventus who drew 1-1 at Livorno on Saturday.

    Genoa beat fellow mid-table side Chievo 1-0 and Catania boosted their hopes of survival and left Lazio third from bottom thanks to Maxi Lopez's second-half goal in a 1-0 win in Rome.

    At the bottom of the table, Atalanta beat Bari 1-0 at home.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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