Serie A

AC Milan Cuts Leads To Seven

AC Milan kept the race for the Serie A title alive at least for another week thanks to a comfortable 2-0 win at Catania on Sunday. Filippo Inzaghi could have netted his third hat-trick in 2009 but had to settle for just one goal in the 27th minute to put the Rossoneri on their way to another three points which cut the gap to city rivals Inter Milan to seven points.

Kaka completed the scoring in the 51st minute on a day when Milan were rarely put under pressure by a disappointing Catania side who seemed to have lost all their motivation for the season having already all but mathematically secured their future in Serie A next season.

Juventus’ woes increased as a stoppage-time equaliser saw them held 2-2 at home by second-bottom Lecce. Axel Cedric Konan silenced the Stadio Olimpico when he gave the visitors an 11th-minute lead, but Pavel Nedved looked to have turned the game on its head with two strikes in the second half.  However, there was one last twist as substitute Jose Ignacio Castillo snatched a last-gasp leveller to nick a point for Lecce.

Fiorentina strengthened their bid for Champions League qualification with a narrow 1-0 victory over relegation-threatened Torino at the Artemio Franchi stadium. Peruvian defender Juan Manuel Vargas grabbed the only goal 12 minutes into the second period to keep Cesare Prandelli’s side ahead of Genoa in the race for fourth place.

Siena guaranteed their Serie A status as they extended Napoli’s dismal away run to 13 matches without a win with a 2-1 victory. First-half goals from Houssine Kharja and Massimo Maccarone put the hosts in control. Inacio Pia pulled a goal back for the visitors 10 minutes from the end but it was too little too late for Partenopei, who have not won on the road since beating Lazio on October 26.

Chievo moved a step closer to Serie A safety with a goalless draw against inconsistent Roma at the Stadio Olimpico. Domenico Di Carlo’s men frustrated the Giallorossi and held on for a point despite having Giampiero Pinzi sent off in injury-time.

Fabio Quagliarella scored twice as Udinese cruised to a 3-0 win over 10-man Atalanta to keep their faint hopes of European qualification alive. Udinese have struggled to make an impact in Serie A this season with the demands of competing in the UEFA Cup taking its toll. But ever since being ousted from the European competition last month, the Friuli outfit have shown some signs of recovery.

Palermo continued their brilliant home form with a 5-1 thrashing of Cagliari at La Favorita. Five different players were on target as Davide Ballardini’s side made it four wins in a row at home and Palermo have now accrued 39 of their 52 points this season in Sicily.

Goals from Giulio Migliaccio and Fabrizio Miccoli put the home side in command at half-time, and although Cagliari pulled one back through Capucho Jedaias just after the break, further strikes from Giovanni Tedesco, Edison Cavani and Davide Succi sealed a comprehensive victory.

On Saturday, Inter Milan moved to within touching distance of a fourth straight title after beating Lazio 2-0 at the San Siro. Second-half goals from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sulley Muntari ensured Inter can secure the Scudetto with victory over Chievo next weekend if AC Milan fail to take maximum points against Juventus next week.

At the other end of the table, Reggina still have hopes of staying up after securing a crucial 2-1 victory away to relegation rivals Bologna. The hosts dominated most of the game but were felled by two goals on the counter-attack by Franco Brienza and Edgar Barreto either side of half-time. Vaggelis Moras reduced the deficit three minutes from full time to set up a tense finale but Reggina clung on to take all three points.