Two goals from Brazilian striker help AC Milan to a 3-1 win over Chievo as red-hot form continues in Serie A.
|A goal from Eto’o was the perfect riposte to racist chants from the Cagliari fans [AFP]|
Samuel Eto’o scored a cracking goal to give Inter Milan a 1-0 win at Cagliari and hit back at the racist chanters who had earlier held up the game.
Sunday’s battling victory put champions Inter level on points at the top with AC Milan, who beat Chievo on Saturday.
Napoli, in fourth, missed the chance to join the leaders after a 1-1 draw at Catania where Edinson Cavani netted a sixth league goal.
Juventus had a bad start to the season but now lie three points from the summit after a rampant 4-0 home win over Lecce sparked by Alberto Aquilani’s first goal for the club.
The former Liverpool and AS Roma midfielder fired in from 25 metres before Felipe Melo, booed by his own fans for much of last term, continued his renaissance with a cheeky penalty and Fabio Quagliarella nodded in on his knees just before the break.
Milos Krasic, distraught when Serbia’s Euro qualifier in Italy was abandoned on Tuesday because of rioting away fans, was again superb before Alessandro Del Piero scored a late fourth.
In the early game, Cameroon’s Eto’o took his Serie A tally to six goals from seven games this season and, like most of his recent efforts, the 39th-minute goal was a marvellous strike.
Wesley Sneijder hooked the ball on and Eto’o twisted and turned like Inter’s serpent symbol on their new away kit before planting a left-footed shot in the corner from the edge of the box.
“Cagliari put us under pressure but we deserved the lead. Eto’o is enjoying a great moment and we hope he continues like this,” Inter’s Javier Zanetti, back from injury for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Tottenham Hotspur, told Sky.
The absence of the injured Diego Milito meant Eto’o could take centre stage in attack and he looked a different player to the workhorse who toiled during last term’s treble triumph.
His strike was the perfect riposte to the Cagliari fans whose racist chants towards him caused the referee to suspend the game after three minutes of play.
A public announcement was made asking fans to stop the chants, which they did for the rest of the match.
The Italian soccer federation, which has long struggled with racist fans, gave referees the right to suspend games in case of such chanting after Mario Balotelli was constantly abused in Inter’s match at Juventus two seasons ago.
The Cagliari game had already caused controversy after becoming the first high-profile match to be selected for this season’s new 12:30 local time kick off which is aimed at catching Asian audiences but has angered Italian fans who believe the start is too early.
Eto’o had another decent effort and Maicon headed wide on the stroke of halftime but the hosts also went close when they hit the bar and Julio Cesar was forced into a good double save.
The table is beginning to take on a familiar look and Palermo joined Juve on 11 points in fifth after Javier Pastore and Josip Ilicic enhanced their growing reputations with spectacular strikes in a 4-1 win at home to struggling Bologna.
Injury-hit Fiorentina slumped to the bottom after Antonio Cassano scored the winner in Sampdoria’s 2-1 comeback victory while Cesena drew 1-1 with Parma and Udinese won 1-0 at Brescia.