Palermo won a spectacular Sicily derby 5-3 against newcomers Catania on Wednesday, giving them a perfect nine points to lead in the Italian Serie A after a pulsating midweek round.
In another big match, Inter Milan edged hosts Roma 1-0 to leapfrog them in the standings, advancing to seven points from three games and remaining level with minnows Messina, who won 2-0 over troubled Reggina in a southern-Italy derby.
Palermo fell behind after 26 minutes at the brimming Renzo Barbera stadium in a derby that had last been played 43 years ago in the Serie A.
Giorgio Corona put Catania ahead, firing home from inside the area, but Giovanni Tedesco leveled two minutes later flicking home off a goal-mouth scramble.
The goals from the two Palermo-born players were followed immediately after the break by a long-range shot from Brazilian Simplicio, who reversed the score for Palermo by surprising the dithering goalkeeper Armando Pantanelli.
Another good effort from Corona was deflected wide before a blunder by keeper Federico Agliardi allowed Giuseppe Mascara to equalize for Catania on 64 minutes through a weak long-range shot.
A spot kick converted by captain Eugenio Corini on 66 minutes gave Palermo a lead then beefed up by goals from Brazilian Amauri and Andrea Barzagli, while Catania's Gionatha Spinesi closed the scoring with a free kick.
"This is something magical that we would like to freeze, but life goes on," Palermo coach Francesco Guidolin said. "This is a historic moment for Palermo. It is great to be alone at the top. It is right to compliment Catania, who played a great first half, them we played our game."
A goal from Hernan Crespo closed Inter's win at Rome's Stadio Olimpico, where Roma were the first to threaten in a fast-paced start through a seventh-minute free kick from captain Totti, which Brazil's keeper Julio Cesar somehow managed to save with his feet.
Marco Materazzi also saved Inter with a goal-line clearance on a dangerous lob from Brazilian Mancini, who quit with an injury on 25 minutes, while Max Tonetto came close on 31 minutes when his smashing volley off a corner kick was blocked by defenders.
Roma's good chances, however, were not worth Crespo's daring shot which put Inter one up on 44 minutes from an incredibly tight angle, though it also had an involuntary deflection from Brazilian keeper Alexander Doni to thank.
Two chances to secure the win went begging for Inter as Zlatan Ibrahimovic had a spot kick saved and Javier Zanetti hit the post before Patrick Vieira was dismissed for a second yellow card with two minutes left.
In other results, Siena won 2-1 at promoted Torino to tie Roma on six points, one more than promoted Atalanta and Empoli, who drew 0-0 in Bergamo. Sampdoria clawed back a 3-3 draw after falling three down to guests Udinese and Cagliari drew 2-2 at home to Livorno.
Fiorentina beat Parma 1-0 for a first win on the season, bringing to minus 16 points the deficit received in the match-fixing trial, while AC Milan overcame their eight-point penalization by winning 1-0 over lowly Ascoli, giving the club one point on the season.
Lazio, also penalized, lie on minus eight after winning 1-0 at Chievo Verona, while Reggina lie on minus 12.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017
TAIWANESE TO PLAY: Jason Jung faces Frederico Coria in the men’s singles first round today, while in the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei is to take on Barbara Haas Novak Djokovic is to renew his love-hate relationship with Roland Garros in the knowledge that it is himself rather than seemingly unsettled 12-time champion Rafael Nadal who could pose the greatest threat to winning a second Paris title and 18th Grand Slam crown. The only man to beat Djokovic this year is Djokovic after the Serb’s hair-trigger temper prompted a sensational disqualification from the US Open. The 33-year-old arrives in the French capital with a 31-1 record this year after his New York brain-fade was followed by a record 36th Masters title in Rome. Djokovic’s 2016 triumph at Roland Garros allowed him to
Taiwan’s Jason Jung was knocked out of the first round of the French Open in straight sets on Sunday, while Andy Murray said it was going to be “difficult” for the former world No. 1 to reach his level of old after he also fell to a lopsided defeat by fellow three-time Grand Slam champion Stan Wawrinka. Jung fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Argentina’s Federico Coria in 3 hours, 19 minutes at Roland Garros, despite hitting 55 winners. Jung served for both the first and second sets, then failed to convert two set points at 5-4 in