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Milan surge clear in second, Juve draw

April 26, 2009 22:09 IST

Buoyant AC Milan moved clear in second spot in Serie A with a 3-0 home win over 10-man Palermo on Sunday, putting a modicum of pressure on leaders Inter Milan.

Kaka's two penalties and a header from the in-form Filippo Inzaghi cut the gap with Inter to seven points before Jose Mourinho's side face a tricky trip to Napoli later.

Third-placed Juventus's title chances all but ended in a 2-2 draw at improving bottom side Reggina. Juventus trail Inter by nine points with five games left.

Antonino Barilla put Reggina in front midway through the first half when he headed in at the back post after Vincenzo Iaquinta had missed a good chance for Juve.

The faltering visitors, dumped out of the Italian Cup semi-finals by Lazio in midweek, were back on level terms at the start of the second period when Alessandro Del Piero converted a penalty after strike partner Iaquinta was fouled.

A stunning longe-range effort by Icelandic midfielder Emil Hallfredsson gave the hosts the lead again but injury-plagued midfielder Cristiano Zanetti snatched a draw and substitute Amauri should have won it for Juve late on.

Reggina still look doomed, lying six adrift of fourth-bottom Torino, who won 1-0 at home to Siena thanks to Rolando Bianchi's neat finish.

The battle against the drop was made even tighter by second-bottom Lecce beating Catania 2-1 and third-bottom Bologna overcoming Genoa 2-0 to dent the away side's Champions League ambitions.

Fiorentina occupy the fourth Champions League qualifying spot after Saturday's 4-1 humbling of rivals AS Roma.

Milan will almost certainly be back in Europe's top competition next term after their recent strong performances, which have dimmed speculation coach Carlo Ancelotti will leave the San Siro at the end of the season.

Brazil playmaker Kaka netted a 10th minute penalty after a foul on Massimo Ambrosini before 35-year-old striker Inzaghi, a hat-trick hero in last Sunday's 5-1 thrashing of Torino, nodded in Ambrosini's cross on 19 minutes.

Europa League hopefuls Palermo were not afraid to attack but any hope of a comeback ended when Cesare Bovo was sent off early in the second half for two bookings.

Kaka, looking fluent again after a season of niggles, earned and thumped in another spotkick soon after.

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