Inter creep back to second

Goals from Sneijder and Eto'o help Inter Milan come from behind to beat Lazio in Italy's Serie A.

    Wesley Sneijder makes it 1-1 at the San Siro [EPA]

    Ten-man Inter Milan came from a goal down to beat Lazio 2-1 at the San Siro to move second in Italy's Serie A on Saturday.

    Inter rallied despite the sending off of goalkeeper Julio Cesar who was dismissed for bringing down Lazio striker Mauro Zarate in the first half.

    The Argentine then opened the scoring with the resultant penalty before an inspired Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o gave Inter the win.

    Leaders AC Milan need four points from their final four matches to be crowned Italian champions for the 18th time following their 1-0 win at Brescia.

    Milan lead reigning champions Inter by eight points but due to their better head-to-head record, need only another win and a draw to lift the scudetto crown.

    Elsewhere Napoli and Udinese lost and Bari were relegated.

    Costly mistake

    Cesar was sent off when he brought down Zarate in a one-on-one situation.

    Reserve goalkeeper Luca Castelazzi came on for Diego Milito and his first job was to pick the ball out of the net after Zarate scored.

    Zarate continued to cause problems for Inter's defence with his pace and Javier Zanetti had to react quickly to block his shot in the 33rd.

    Inter were level in the 40th when Sneijder whipped a free kick over Lazio's wall. Eto'o then gave the defending champion the lead in the 53rd, when he linked with Zanetti to score on the counterattack.

    Lazio kept attacking and Zarate fired a volley into the side netting, while at the other end Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had to react quickly to keep out Maicon's curling shot.

    "We have had some heavy losses recently and the players reacted to them today as you would want,'' Inter coach Leonardo said.

    "We were down to 10 men and just conceded a penalty, but the effort and the sacrifice the players made was fantastic.''

    Napoli loss

    Results & fixtures

    Saturday April 23

     Roma 1-0 Chievo
     Bari 0-1 Sampdoria
     Bologna 0-2 Cesena
     Cagliari 1-2 Fiorentina
     Genoa 4-2 Lecce
     Inter Milan 2-1 Lazio
     Palermo 2-1 Napoli
     Udinese 0-2 Parma
     Brescia 0-1 AC Milan
     Juventus 2-2 Catania

    In Palermo, Napoli were gifted the perfect start as Cavani, who had missed from the spot last week against Udinese, sent Salvatore Sirigu the wrong way with the calmest of penalties in the second minute.

    After Bovo and Cavani shot over, Balzaretti equalised for the Rosanero on 38 minutes.

    Palermo coach Delio Rossi was then sent from the dugout after disputing a decision but his side still took the lead seconds before halftime through a Bovo penalty.

    Giulio Migliaccio, played in by an exquisite back heel from Javier Pastore, was brought down in the box and although Antonio Nocerino found the net as the ball broke, the referee had already blown for the penalty.

    Balzaretti and Abel Hernandez both struck the woodwork early in the second half as Palermo continued to pose the greater danger with substitute Cristiano Lucarelli's tame 75th-minute header the only effort of note for a sorry Napoli.

    "We deserved to draw, but we weren't able to and that's the way it goes,'' Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri said.

    "Nonetheless we have had an exceptional season."

    Fifth-placed Udinese, who played most of the match with 10 men after Gokhan Inler's 21st-minute sending off, failed to take advantage of Lazio's loss with an Amauri double giving struggling Parma a precious three points in Udine.

    Bari were relegated after a second-half winner from Nicola Pozzi pushed Sampdoria to 35 points level with third-from-bottom Lecce, who were on the wrong end of a thrilling 4-2 match in Genoa. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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