Inter's winning streak ends at Lecce

Inter Milan's run of seven successive wins ends with 1-0 defeat by relegation strugglers Lecce in Italy's Serie A.

    Inter's loss leaves them nine points adrift of leaders Juventus [GALLO/GETTY]

    Inter Milan's seven-match winning streak in Italy’s Serie A was broken on Sunday with a 1-0 loss at Lecce, a result which also allowed Lazio to jump ahead of the Nerazzurri into fourth place.

    Uruguayan midfielder Guillermo Giacomazzi scored in the 40th minute for Lecce and Inter had two goals called back for offside.

    Lazio won 3-0 at Chievo Verona with a first-half goal from Brazilian playmaker Hernanes and two strikes in the final minutes from veteran Germany striker Miroslav Klose.

    Juventus, who edged Udinese 2-1 Saturday, lead Serie A with 44 points.

    Sneijder return

    "We had a great run and now comes the beautiful and the difficult because I've got to insert two players like (Diego) Forlan and (Wesley) Sneijder,'' Inter manager Claudio Ranieri said, referring to two players returning from injury.

    Sneijder played only the first half, while Forlan is still to return from a series of physical problems.

    Elsewhere, Roma drew 1-1 at home with Bologna to stay sixth.

    Roma's 21-year-old midfielder Miralem Pjanic equalised with a splendid free kick in the 62nd minute after Bologna captain Marco Di Vaio had scored six minutes earlier.

    Also, Genoa beat Napoli 3-2 with two goals from Rodrigo Palacio and one from newly signed Alberto Gilardino to get some revenge for a 6-1 loss to Napoli last month that cost Alberto Malesani his job.

    In Sicily, Palermo beat last-place Novara 2-0, with Fabrizio Miccoli setting up two headers from Igor Budan; and Atalanta hung on with 10 men for a 1-0 win at Cesena following an own goal from Marco Rossi.

    Earlier, Fiorentina moved into the top half of the table with a 2-1 win over Siena in a Tuscan derby.

    Stevan Jovetic put Fiorentina in front with a low shot four minutes in and Cesare Natali doubled the lead with a header in the 63rd before Emanuele Calaio pulled one back for Siena with a penalty in the 88th.

    Making his debut after transferring from Juventus, Brazilian-born Italy forward Amauri had several chances for Fiorentina but could not find the target in his first action since the end of last season.

    Missed opportunites


    Saturday January 28

    Catania 1-1 Parma
    Juventus 2-1 Udinese

    Sunday January 29

    Fiorentina 2-1 Siena
    Cesena 0-1 Atalanta
    Chievo 0-3 Lazio
    Genoa 3-2 Napoli
    Lecce 1-0 Inter Milan
    Palermo 2-0 Novara
    Roma 1-1 Bologna
    AC Milan v Cagliari

    At Lecce's Via del Mare stadium, Inter were one win away from matching the club-record winning streak, but for the second consecutive match - including a 2-0 midweek loss to Napoli in the Italian Cup - Ranieri's side failed to meet expectations.

    Massimo Oddo, a member of Italy's winning 2006 World Cup side, provided the pass for Giacomazzi, who used his chest to control the ball, then slotted a low shot past Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar as defenders Lucio and Walter Samuel failed to intervene.

    Esteban Cambiasso and Diego Milito then had goals annulled for offside in the 51st and 71st, respectively.

    Lecce goalkeeper Massimiliano Benassi preserved the victory with a diving save on Giampaolo Pazzini in the 90th and Julio Cesar prevented it from becoming a 2-0 loss with a difficult save on David Di Michele seconds later.

    "We came up against a goalkeeper in great form, while we continually grew more nervous,'' Ranieri said.

    It was Lecce's first home win of the season and only their fourth overall.

    In Verona, Hernanes put Lazio in front with a close-range effort in the 20th and Klose found the target in the 88th and 89th for his 11th and 12th scores this season.

    First, Klose dribbled by two defenders inside the area and used the outside of his foot to push the ball past Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino, then he found the target with a low shot from beyond the area.



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