Inter Milan took another important step towards lifting their fourth consecutive Serie A title, and first under boss Jose Mourinho, as they beat Udinese 1-0 while closest rivals Juventus could only draw 3-3 at home to Chievo.
Inter were second best for the majority of their trip to Udine, but were handed a undeserved winner 13 minutes from time when home defender Mauricio Isla put the ball into his own net. And while the uninspiring nature of Inter’s win would have hardly won over the more sceptical Nerazzurri fans, who have been unimpressed with Mourinho’s brand of football, it does move them nine points clear after Juve’s slip.
Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier proved Juve’s nemesis as he scored a hat-trick, including a last-minute equaliser, to put a dent in the Bianconeri’s title ambitions. Pellissier gave Chievo a deserved lead in the 25th minute before Giorgio Chiellini levelled for Juve nine minutes later. The Chievo striker’s second of the game handed the visitors the lead at half-time before an own goal by Mario Yepes and a Vincenzo Iaquinta strike turned the game in the Old Lady’s favour. However, Pellissier had the last laugh as he stunned the Stadio Olimpico at the death and move Chievo seven points clear of safety.
AC Milan scored twice in injury time to grab a 2-0 home win over lowly Lecce and establish their place in third. Lecce, who sit second from bottom, had looked on course for a valuable point in their bid to avoid the drop until Ronaldinho struck after 90 minutes had elapsed. To add to Lecce’s frustrations Filippo Inzaghi added a second as Milan kept a grip on third and direct qualification to next year’s Champions League.
Their closest rivals for that position are Genoa, who remained four points behind after they won 1-0 at rock-bottom Reggina – Thiago Motta scoring the decisive goal after 77 minutes.
On a good weekend for those sides inside the top eight there were also wins for Fiorentina, Roma, Cagliari and Palermo. Fiorentina came from behind to beat 10-man Atalanta 2-1 and remain two points behind Genoa. Gianvito Plasmati put the home side ahead four minutes into the second half, but Stevan Jovetic equalised from the penalty spot after Federico Peluso was sent off for a foul on Alberto Gilardino. And Gilardino proved to be the match-winner when he netted with 30 seconds left.
Francesco Totti returned from injury and struck twice from the penalty spot as Roma won 2-1 at home to Bologna, for whom Massimo Marazzina scored. Cagliari remain four points off the European places after Alessandro Matri’s 79th-minute strike handed them a 1-0 win at home to Catania.
Palermo were also 1-0 winners, with Edinson Cavani scoring after 51 minutes to beat Torino, and keep them level on points with Cagliari.
Elsewhere, Sampdoria and Napoli played out a 2-2 draw in a battle of two mid-table sides. Angelo Palombo twice put Samp ahead in the match but Marcelo Zalayeta cancelled out the first just before half-time and then German Denis pounced in the 90th minute to nick a point for the visitors.
Siena almost certainly ensured their survival with a 2-0 win at home to Lazio that moves them 10 points clear of the bottom three. Emanuele Calaio (25) score the opener before Massimo Maccarone (85) put Siena out of reach.