Serie A review

Inter win derby to boost title hopes

January 14, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Diego Milito's second-half goal secured a 1-0 win for Inter Milan in the Derby della Madonnina to deny arch-rivals AC Milan the chance to move top of Serie A and boost their own title hopes.

AC Milan v Inter Milan analysis (UK/US/ROI)

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Inter silenced the San Siro in the fifth minute, but Thiago Motta's celebrations after he nodded in a free-kick from the right were short-lived as his strike was ruled out for offside.

The decision proved to be an incorrect one as the Italy international was not beyond the last Milan defender, although both Milito and Giampaolo Pazzini were stood in an offside position, perhaps contributing to the linesman's confusion.

In the very last minute of the first half, Milan's Mark van Bommel rattled the crossbar with a shot from outside the area and Julio Cesar had to stretch to push Urby Emanuelson's shot wide on the rebound.

Inter started the second half like the first and opened the scoring in the 54th minute thanks, in part, to a mistake by Ignacio Abate. He made a hash of his attempt to cut out a crossfield pass, allowing Milito to take the ball into the penalty area and beat Abbiati with a shot which went in off the base of the far post.

The victory takes Claudio Ranieri's side to within six points of the summit and just five behind the Rossoneri.

Juventus missed the opportunity to put some real pressure on Serie A leaders AC Milan after being held to a 1-1 draw by Cagliari.

Unbeaten Juve started the weekend level on 37 points with Milan at the summit and looked set to pick up three more points after taking a seventh-minute lead through Mirko Vucinic.

However, mid-table Cagliari upset their hosts by drawing level just after half-time through Andrea Cossu and Juve could not find a winner, settling for an eighth draw in 18 games this season.

The result gives Juve a one-point lead at the top of the table, but Milan could take over pole position if they beat city rivals Inter in the Milanese derby.

Lazio ended a three-match winless run in Serie A with a 2-0 victory over 10-man Atalanta.

Hernanes put Lazio ahead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute after Stefan Radu was brought down inside the area by Atalanta's Andrea Massiello.

The visitors were then forced to play a man down as defender Stefano Lucchini was sent off after 52 minutes for a second bookable offence and Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli made a string of saves to keep his team in the game.

But Lazio's Miroslav Klose put the result beyond doubt at the death.

The win, Lazio's first in the league since December 10, has lifted the Romans to fourth place, while Atalanta drop to 13th.

Sebastian Giovinco put the seal on an encouraging start to Roberto Donadoni's reign as manager of Parma, scoring last to seal a 3-1 win against Siena.

Former Italy boss Donadoni took charge at the Ennio Tardini stadium this week, inheriting a side standing 15th in Serie A after just five wins from 17 matches.

The visit of a Siena side that thumped Lazio 4-0 last week was sure to ask questions of his new charges, particularly as Parma were drubbed 5-0 by Inter Milan in their last outing - the result which saw Donadoni's predecessor Franco Colomba lose his job.

Parma had just one victory in their last eight games heading into today's match, but they were deserved winners, with goals from Jonathan Biabiany and Francesco Valiani giving them a useful lead before Paolo Grossi struck for Siena.

Genoa came from behind to win their first game of 2012, defeating high-flying Udinese 3-2 in a thriller at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.

Damiano Ferronetti put Udinese in front in the 13th minute, but two goals from Andreas Granqvist and Bosko Jankovic early in the second half put Genoa in charge.

Rodrigo Palacio appeared to have given the home side all three points, but a controversial penalty decision, which resulted in Genoa captain Marco Rossi being sent off, allowed Antonio Di Natale to give the visitors hope from the spot.

However, Sebastien Frey kept the Bianconeri out with a succession of fine saves, earning Pasquale Marino his first win as Genoa coach.

Adrian Mutu struck twice in the first half as Cesena returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win against fellow relegation battlers Novara.

Mutu put his team ahead in the 20th minute before adding his second from the penalty spot after Antonio Candreva was brought down in the area by Novara's Michel Morganella.

Cesena went into the break 3-0 up after Leandro Rinaudo deflected the ball into his own net.

The hosts should have extended their advantage after the hour mark but Candreva saw his penalty saved by Novara goalkeeper Samir Ujkani. Substitute Takayuki Morimoto then scored a consolation goal two minutes from time. The result has moved Cesena three points behind 17th-placed Bologna, who visit Napoli on Monday.

Lecce hauled themselves off the foot of the Serie A standings with a smash-and-grab 1-0 victory on the road at Fiorentina.

David Di Michele's second-half penalty separated the sides after 90 minutes but the game was Fiorentina's to win. The hosts dominated possession and had far more shots on goal, but the breakthrough would not come as La Viola went down to their seventh loss of the campaign.

Victory for Lecce was their third of the season - all of them away successes - and lifted them into 19th place on 12 points - ahead of Novara on goal difference.

Palermo's winless run on the road this season continued as they lost 1-0 at Chievo. Paolo Sammarco netted the only goal of the game at the Marc' Antonio Bentegodi stadium in the 50th minute.

The victory was Chievo's sixth of the league campaign and moved the Verona side to 10th in the standings. Palermo, meanwhile, have fallen to 14th place.