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Rediff.com  » Sports » Serie A: Inter end bad week on a high, Totti lifts Roma

Serie A: Inter end bad week on a high, Totti lifts Roma

April 10, 2011 16:53 IST

Italian champions Inter Milan ended a damaging week on a high by beating Chievo Verona 2-0 at the San Siro to move two points behind Serie A leaders AC Milan on Saturday.

Francesco Totti struck twice to lift Roma to a 2-1 win at injury-hit Udinese in the scrap for a place in next season's Champions League.

Second-half goals from Argentine midfielder Esteban Cambiasso and Brazilian defender Maicon gave spluttering Inter three points in a feisty encounter against battling Chievo to move above Napoli into second place ahead of Sunday's matches.

Coming on the back of comprehensive back-to-back defeats in the Milan derby and Champions League, Inter coach Leonardo told Italy's Sky TV it was a significant victory.

"It was difficult for us to find our rhythm but we played a clever game and concentrated right until the last," said the Brazilian whose side, 5-2 down from the first leg, travel to Schalke 04 on Wednesday in the return leg of the Champions League quarter-finals.

"We are still in the hunt for everything. We've heard the joke about playing 04 [Schalke] but I still believe it's possible for us to go through."

In Udine, Totti fired home John Arne Riise's cross deep into stoppage time to send sixth-placed Roma three points behind Udinese, who occupy the fourth Champions League spot.

CHEEKY PENALTY

In a thrilling second half, Totti had given Roma the lead on 56 minutes with a cheeky dinked penalty before Antonio Di Natale equalised for Udinese with his 26th goal of the campaign, a clinical 88th-minute finish from Bernardo Corradi's knock down.

The home side, without injured striker Alexis Sanchez and midfielder Gokhan Inler, then had a goal disallowed for handball before Totti scored the winner, his 203rd Serie A goal, in the dying seconds of stoppage time.

"You can do the best things at the most crucial moments," Totti told Sky TV, describing his penalty. "I wanted to show people I'm not finished and that I can last the pace."

In Milan, Giampaolo Pazzini had the best chance of an even first half. Played in brilliantly by Maicon's perfectly timed pass, the Italian striker pulled a glorious chance inches wide on 15 minutes.

Leonardo threw Wesley Sneijder on after the break but it was Chievo who posed the greater threat as Sergio Pellissier first headed over a Bojan Jokic cross before shooting straight at Julio Cesar on 54 minutes.

But just as Chievo looked like they could spring an upset, Inter struck on 66 minutes as Cambiasso was allowed space inside the area to slot home Maicon's square pass.

Pellissier had a superb chance to equalise with 12 minutes to go but blasted over before defender Maicon doubled the advantage on 84 minutes, side-footing home from eight yards after the ball broke to him in the box.

On Sunday, leaders Milan visit Fiorentina and Napoli, a point behind Inter, travel to Bologna.

Source:
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