|Inter Milan confirmed their place in Europe’s knockout round in the midweek action, but have had a poor domestic season by contrast [GALLO/GETTY]|
Luc Castaignos scored the winner a minute from time as Inter Milan won 1-0 at Siena on Sunday to give their Serie A campaign a further boost.
Following their 2-1 home win over Cagliari last weekend, it was the first time this season that Inter had won successive league matches.
Claudio Ranieri’s team remain in the bottom half of the table but, with 14 points, they are now just one win away from sixth-placed Roma.
“It was an important game, every game is like a final for us because we have to move up (the table),” Castaignos told Sky.
“We’re taking it day by day and match by match and if we do this it’s going to be good for us.”
In the late game AC Milan sent out an ominous warning to their title rivals with a 4-0 thrashing of Chievo at the San Siro that moved them into second place.
The first half was a cagey affair with few chances for either side.
Ricardo Alvarez crossed from the right for Inter and Giampaolo Pazzini’s flick-on found Mauro Zarate, but his header was straight at goalkeeper Zeljko Brkic.
An Inter corner created a goalmouth scramble but Esteban Cambiasso missed the ball completely and Walter Samuel’s wild hack went out for a throw-in.
Sunday November 27
Cagliari 1-1 Bologna
Saturday November 26
Friday November 25
Udinese 2-0 Roma
Siena’s best attempt came right at the end of the half when Emanuele Calaio held off Samuel but dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Ranieri tried to inject some life into his side by introducing Nigeria midfielder Joel Obi and Dutch teenager Castaignos at the break for Alvarez and Zarate.
Almost nothing happened in the second half until a minute from time when Thiago Motta slipped the ball into Castaignos, on the edge of the box.
The Dutchman turned and shot in one movement, with the ball creeping inside the far post.
Elsewhere, Cesena moved off the bottom of the table after Romania forward Adrian Mutu scored a brace, including one from the penalty spot, to give his side a 2-0 win over Genoa.
Having gone 10 games without a victory at the beginning of the season, it was Cesena’s second win in a row, giving coach Daniele Arrigoni two wins in three matches since taking over from Marco Giampaolo.
Giampaolo was sacked at the beginning of the month following a haul of just three points in nine games.
Palermo moved up to fifth with a 2-0 win over Fiorentina, who drop to 16th, as Fabrizio Miccoli and Josip Ilicic scored the goals in Sicily.
On Saturday Juventus claimed sole leadership of Serie A with a 1-0 victory at Lazio, who had started the day level on points with the Old Lady of Turin.
Simone Pepe scored the only goal of the game on 34 minutes from Alessandro Matri’s cross from the left, but Hernanes hit the post for the hosts in the second period.
Juve lead the table by a point from Udinese but will have the chance to move four points clear if they win at Napoli on Tuesday in a game postponed earlier this month due to bad weather.
Napoli’s chances of mounting a title challenge appear to be petering out after a 1-1 draw at Atalanta.
They now trail Juve by 10 points and it could have been worse but for Edinson Cavani’s equaliser with virtually the last kick of the match after former Napoli forward German Denis had given the hosts the lead in Bergamo.
Novara won for the first time in nine matches with a come-from-behind 2-1 success against Parma but they remain in the bottom three after Bologna’s 1-1 draw at Cagliari on Sunday.
Lecce lost 1-0 at home to Catania and drop to the bottom.