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Juventus Stay In Touch Of Inter Milan

Substitute Christian Poulsen’s stoppage-time winner gave 10-man Juventus a vital three points as they beat Catania 2-1 to move into second spot between Inter Milan in the Serie A standings.

Vincenzo Iaquinta had given the visitors an early lead with an 11th-minute header but instantly went from hero to villain as he was sent off for two yellow-card offences in less than a minute. The Bianconeri clung on despite heavy pressure from Catania but goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who put in a stunning performance to keep the hosts at bay, was eventuall beaten six minutes into the second half by Takayuki Morimoto. It looked like it was going to end all square at the Stadio Angelo Massimino but Poulsen snatched all the points for Claudio Ranieri’s men in stoppage time.

Roma cooled off red-hot Genoa with three classy goals getting them back to winning ways with a 3-0 victory. Brazilian right-back Cicinho opened the scoring in the 26th minute before Mirko Vucinic’s stunning volley made it 2-0 shortly after the restart. Roma winger Rodrigo Taddei was sent off early in the second half but instead of capitalising on their man advantage, Genoa failed to score and also lost a player themselves when Giuseppe Sculli was given his marching orders with 20 minutes remaining. Substitute Julio Baptista then capped up a wonderful afternoon for the home side by scoring Roma’s third deep in stoppage time.

Fiorentina narrowly beat 10-man Lazio 1-0 in a highly-charged encounter. Lazio, who played for almost 70 minutes a man down after Lorenzo De Silvestri saw red in the 18th minute, will feel robbed at the result having caused problems for the hosts throughout. Despite their numerical disadvantage the visitors threatened for long periods but were thwarted by an imperious Sebastian Frey in the Viola goal. Pasquale Foggia and Mauro Zarate both hit the woodwork before Alberto Gilardino finally broke the deadlock late on.

Ten-man Cagliari saw their quest for a fourth successive victory end in a disappointing 1-0 home defeat at the hands of Atalanta. The Sardinian club were at a numerical disadvantage from the 40th minute when Diego Lopez received his second yellow card of the match. And the visitors from Bergamo made their hosts pay midway through the second half as Luca Cigarini bagged the only goal of the game at the Stadio Sant’ Elia.

Vincenzo Italiano came off the bench to rescue a point for Chievo at Torino and secure their third successive 1-1 draw. The Flying Donkeys held Lecce and Sampdoria in their previous two games and Italiano made it three out of three, preserving their unbeaten record in 2009 as a result. His strike will have come as a major blow for Torino, however, who looked set to record their first win since December when Nicola Ventola put them ahead 19 minutes into the second half.

Substitute Alexis Sanchez struck a last-gasp winner as Udinese’s resurgence continued with a narrow 1-0 triumph over Bologna. Sanchez came off the bench and hit a superb individual goal after 92 minutes as Udinese extended their unbeaten run to three matches after ending a three-month losing streak with a 2-1 defeat of Juventus. Udinese remain 12th following the triumph, while Bologna stay 16th, just three points above the relegation zone, after their first away loss since November 2.

Massimo Maccarone stepped off the bench to score an equaliser that ensured Siena avoided a fifth consecutive away league defeat as they drew 2-2 at Sampdoria. Siena had failed to score during that poor run of away form – their last goal on the road came in a 2-0 win against Chievo on November 23 – but they surprised their hosts when they went ahead after 21 minutes through Simone Vergassola. Walter Mazzarri’s side did get the goal they deserved through Claudio Bellucci in first-half injury time before Giampaolo Pazzini put them ahead after 51 minutes. But Maccarone would have the final say with 11 minutes remaining, making an immediate impact off the bench with a simple tap-in.

On Saturday, Inter returned to winning ways A with an easy 3-0 win at lowly Lecce, while AC Milan were held to a 1-1 draw by rock-bottom Reggina. Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring for Jose Mourinho’s side in the first half while further goals from Luis Figo and Dejan Stankovic made sure of a comfortable victory at Stadio Via del Mare.

Their city rivals saw their title hopes hampered after they were held to a 1-1 draw with struggling Reggina. Milan, with David Beckham in the starting XI once more, enjoyed excellent early possession and pressure, but they fell behind on 33 minutes. Reggina burst away on the counter-attack and Bernardo Corradi set up Carlos Carmona, whose fierce drive was parried by Christian Abbiati in the Milan goal. Italian giants Milan failed to clear their lines, though, and a Corradi flick set up the late arriving Davide Di Gennaro to lash home left-footed.

Milan were given a lifeline on 67 minutes as Matej Krajcik brought down a marauding Pato in the box and Kaka smashed home the penalty. Ronaldinho made way for Filippo Inzaghi and he almost converted a sumptuous cross from Beckham, heading just over the bar 17 minutes from time. Five minutes from the end Inzaghi was inches away from converting another devilish cross from the former Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder. Milan now trail leaders Inter Milan by eight points.