Gattuso strike sends Milan clear at the top of Italy’s Serie A with 1-0 win at Juventus.
|Japan international Yuto Nagatomo scored his first goal for Inter after leaving Cesena on loan [Reuters]|
A blazing second-half performance saw Inter Milan come back from a goal down to crush Genoa 5-2 at the San Siro and stay five points behind Serie A leaders AC Milan while fading Napoli dropped more points.
A brace from the brilliant Samuel Eto’o and one goal each from Giampaolo Pazzini, Goran Pandev and Yuto Nagatomo cancelled out Rodrigo Palacio’s 40th-minute opener for Genoa before the visitors scored a last-minute consolation through Mauro Boselli in an end-to-end game.
Inter coach Leonardo was beaming at the final whistle on Sunday after all five goals were scored in the second half.
“It was not easy against their five defenders but after Pazzini’s goal it all opened up and it was a joy to watch,” said the former Milan coach before turning his attention towards the potentially scudetto-deciding Milan derby in early April.
“The derby is always the derby – it’s a one off. It will be spectacular in every sense but there are 10 games, and we have to take one at a time”.
Out of steam
Third-placed Napoli’s own title challenge appears to have run out of steam after the Azzurri were held to a goalless draw by lowly Brescia at the San Paolo, where coach Walter Mazzarri was sent from the dugout in the first half for protesting.
|Results & fixtures|
Friday March 4
Lecce 1-2 Roma
Saturday March 5
Juventus 0-1 AC Milan
Sunday March 6
Sampdoria 2-3 Cesena
In Udine, Antonio Di Natale’s second-half penalty, his 22nd goal of the campaign, gave Udinese a 1-0 win over rock-bottom Bari, temporarily taking them fourth ahead of Lazio’s evening match against Palermo.
Coach Francesco Guidolin, whose Udinese side lost their opening four fixtures, said it had been a great comeback after their start to the campaign.
“Today we won the most difficult game of the season”, said Guidolin whose exciting team had scored seven at Palermo last week.
“Bari didn’t give up, but I have 25 sons who I’m very pleased with right now”.
Eto’o was in the thick of things from the start in Milan.
Playing to the left of Pazzini, the Cameroonian tested Eduardo on 20 and 35 minutes with right-foot drives.
Genoa though had come to play and after the stretching Alberto Paloschi shot into the side-netting the visitors took the lead when fellow forward Palacio fired a rasping crosshot into the corner after being found by the creative Abdoulay Konko.
Leonardo’s words and Pandev’s introduction for Dejan Stankovic at half time witnessed a very different Inter.
On 50 minutes, Eto’o fed Maicon whose cross was side-footed home by Pazzini. A minute later Eto’o slotted home after Pandev’s shot had been fumbled by Eduardo.
Six minutes on and Eto’o robbed the ball, slipped inside another challenge before poking past Eduardo for a brilliant individual effort and his 18th goal of the season.
On 68min, Pandev, who had gone close following two mazy runs, made it 4-1 with his second goal of the season after Eto’o and Sneijder had combined to tee him up.
With the hosts flying forward at every opportunity, Japan flyer Nagatomo swivelled on the penalty spot to fire home left-footed for his first Inter goal before Boselli’s late header made it 5-2.
Elsewhere, Adrian Mutu struck a first-half brace to help mid-table Fiorentina to a 3-0 win over Catania at the Artemio Franchi stadium.
A first-half penalty from Marco Di Vaio, his 18th goal of the season, and a 95th-minute equaliser from Gaston Ramirez helped Bologna to a 2-2 draw against Cagliari, who stay ninth.
Earlier on Sunday, two goals from Emanuele Giaccherini helped Cesena to a 3-2 win at struggling Sampdoria and above the drop zone.