Tue, Apr 03, 2007 - Page 19 News List

Inter Milan beat Parma to close in on Serie A title


Inter Milan's Adriano of Brazil, center, vies with Parma defenders Fernando Couto, left, and Matteo Contini during their Italian Serie A match at San Siro stadium in Milan on Sunday.


Inter Milan extended its lead at the top of Serie A to 20 points on Sunday after beating struggling Parma 2-0.

Brazilian defender Maxwell scored his first goal in Italy in the 56th minute following an exchange with Hernan Crespo. Adriano set up Crespo for Inter's second goal in the 70th and then hit the crossbar with a header in the 80th.

Inter has an unbeaten record of 25 wins and four draws. The win was the 100th for Roberto Mancini as Inter's coach -- in all competitions.

Crespo said he was sad to score against his former team, but added that Inter would like to clinch the title as soon as possible.

"Unfortunately I've come in second three times in Italy," Crespo said. "I think this is my chance. We have a nice lead."

Inter finished behind Juventus and AC Milan last season and was assigned the title after penalties were handed out in the Italian match-fixing scandal. Before that, it's last league title came in 1989.

"This is a team that hasn't celebrated a scudetto on the field in a long time, and now we're close," Crespo said. "We want to win in style."

Giuseppe Rossi -- on loan from Manchester United -- produced one of Parma's few chances in the 64th, shooting wide. Parma is second-to-last and in serious danger of being relegated for the first time since reaching Serie A in 1990.

Guglielmo Stendardo, Stefano Mauri, Valon Behrami and Tommaso Rocchi scored for Lazio. Antonio Di Natale converted a penalty for Udinese and Vincenzo Iaquinta scored in second-half injury time in his return from injury.

Fourth-place Palermo was held to a 0-0 draw at Torino. Nicola Pozzi and Luca Saudati each scored twice as Empoli beat 10-man Ascoli 4-1 to jump ahead of Milan into fifth place.

Atalanta came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Fiorentina. Luca Toni, who scored both goals in Italy's 2-0 win over Scotland on Wednesday, entered in the 67th after the scoring was finished.

Sampdoria's Fabio Quagliarella scored from near the half-way line and Matteo Brighi equalized for Chievo Verona in a 1-1 draw.

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