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Inzaghi hat-trick leads AC Milan

AC Milan leapt above Juventus into second place in Serie A thanks to an impressive 5-1 win over Torino. Filippo Inzaghi was Milan’s hero with a hat-trick, aided twice by the vision and skill of David Beckham. Kaka added a fourth from the penalty spot in a one-sided game before Ivan Franceschini claimed a consolation goal 10 minutes from time. But Massimo Ambrosini restored Milan’s four-goal advantage with the last kick of the game as Carlo Ancelotti’s side joined Juve on 64 points, 10 behind runaway leaders Inter Milan.

Francesco Totti struck twice to help Roma get back to winning ways and dent Lecce’s hopes of avoiding relegation with a 3-2 victory. Totti’s spot-kick on the hour mark earned the Giallorossi a narrow triumph at the Stadio Olimpico. Totti had put the Eternal City giants ahead early on before Matteo Brighi’s strike made it 2-0 in the 13th minute. Having dominated the opening stages, the Giallorossi sat on their lead and ended up paying for it soon after. Gianni Munari reduced the deficit on the half-hour mark before substitute Dimitrios Papadopoulos levelled the scores in the 55th minute. 

However, Totti’s penalty, which was awarded after Julio Baptista was brought down by Edinho, snatched all three points for the Romans. And, to make matters worse for the visitors, Luca Ariatti was shown a straight red after a two-footed tackle on David Pizarro with 18 minutes remaining.

Fiorentina slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Udinese to remain fifth. Udinese were always in control of the game and showed no tiredness from their 3-3 draw with Werder Bremen on Thursday as they raced into the lead thanks to Kwadwo Asamoah in the 10th minute. Gaetano D’Agostino doubled their advantage with a dubious penalty two minutes into the second half before Dario Dainelli’s first goal of the season in the 67th minute brought Fiorentina back into the game. But D’Agostino’s second and Udinese’s third two minutes later decided the encounter to lift Udinese back into the top half of the table.

Cagliari maintained their push for a European place with a 2-0 victory over a disappointing Napoli side. Goals at either end of the match from Capucio Jeda and Andrea Lazzari gave the Rossoblu the points and erased memories of their defeat by Fiorentina last weekend. It was the first defeat for Napoli under coach Roberto Donadoni, whose side had drawn their first four matches under his tenure following his appointment last month.

Reggina defeated Atalanta 1-0 for their first victory in 2009 to revive their hopes of avoiding relegation. Amaranto striker Fabio Ceravolo scored the only goal of the game after 40 minutes to seal a win that takes them to within four points of safety with six games remaining. Nevio Orlandi’s men could have won by a a bigger margin but were denied by the woodwork on three occasions.

Palermo heaped more misery on troubled Bologna and their new coach Giuseppe Papadopulo with an emphatic 4-1 victory at the Stadio Renzo Barbera. Papadopulo, who replaced Sinisa Mihajlovic after the 4-1 home defeat by Siena in the last round of matches, had been hoping his arrival would spark his relegation-threatened side to life. But Palermo were gifted the lead early on through Manuel Belleri’s own goal and never looked back. 

Simon Kjaer and Davide Succi stretched the hosts’ advantage before Bologna found themselves playing with 10 men following the dismissal of Sergio Volpi. Marco di Vaio then managed to get the visitors on the scoresheet, but it was nothing more than a consolation as Edison Cavani rounded off the win for Palermo in stoppage time.

A Giuseppe Mascara penalty and an early second-half strike from Jorge Andres Martinez were just reward for Catania as they eased their relegation fears with a home win over Sampdoria. But the home side did not dominate the Serie A clash as Sampdoria went close to hitting back on several occasions. Antonio Cassano could have added his name to the scoresheet on more than one occasion but his failure in front of goal summed up a disappointing day for the visitors.

Two goals by Sergio Pellissier guided Chievo to their fifth away win of the season as they won 2-0 at Siena. Pellissier opened the scoring with a left-footed shot halfway through the first half before sealing the victory shortly after half-time with his sixth goal in six games. The result means Chievo move to within three points of their hosts as they edge away from the bottom of the table.

On Saturday, Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan took a massive step towards the title as they secured a 1-1 draw at 10-man Juventus. The result leaves Juve 10 points adrift of Inter with just six games to make up the deficit, although it could have been even worse after rising star Mario Balotelli put Mourinho’s men in front in the 64th minute.

A bad day appeared to have reached crisis point with 15 minutes to go when midfielder Tiago was dismissed, but Zdenek Grygera found an equaliser in the dying seconds to boost morale for the Turin side.

Fourth-placed Genoa’s hopes of Champions League qualification suffered a blow as they went down 1-0 at home to Lazio, for whom Argentinian Mauro Zarate scored the only goal in the 65th minute.

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