Inter Milan claimed their 10th consecutive league triumph on
Wednesday, a 2-0 win at Lazio maintaining their seven-point lead in
Goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Marco Materazzi secured victory
for Roberto Mancini's side, who had Sweden striker Zlatan
Ibrahimovic sent off in first-half stoppage time.
Second-placed AS Roma kept up the chase with a 2-1 win at
Palermo, 11 points adrift of Inter in third place, crushed
Ascoli 4-0 while Brazilian Kaka scored twice as AC Milan beat
Catania 3-0 at the San Siro.
Inter's first win at Lazio for more than 10 years was set up
when Hernan Crespo did well to slip the ball into the path of
fellow Argentine Cambiasso to score after 39 minutes.
Ibrahimovic was sent off for a second bookable offence after
showing dissent to an offside decision by kicking the ball
"We had the game in hand until Zlatan's dismissal and then
unfortunately it got a bit tough for us after the break," said
Down to 10 men, Inter had to survive Lazio pressure and
Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar needed to keep out a fierce volley
from defender Massimo Oddo.
But Inter doubled their advantage five minutes from the end when
Italian international Materazzi headed home a cross from Portuguese
winger Luis Figo, the defender celebrating by kissing the boot of
the former Real Madrid player.
Roma took a grip on their game in the 24th minute when Torino's
Ivan Franceschini handled a Francesco Totti shot on the goalline
and was sent off.
Christian Abbiati saved Totti's penalty but Roma grabbed the
lead in the 37th minute when Brazilian Mancini's shot deflected off
Totti to beat the wrong-footed keeper.
Mancini made it 2-0 in the 80th minute before Torino pulled a
goal back near the end through Alessandro Rosina.
Milan's convincing victory over Catania means they are within
six points of fourth-placed Sampdoria.
Kaka put 13th-placed Milan ahead after four minutes when he was
neatly set up by Alberto Gilardino.
Gilardino got on the scoresheet after the break, slotting home
from close range before he set up Kaka again for Milan's third.
(China Daily via Reuters December 21, 2006)