Mon, Dec 08, 2008 - Page 18 News List

LEGA CALCIO: Unstoppable Inter win in Rome, go nine points clear

AFP , ROME

Lazio’s Mauro Matias Zarate, right, controls the ball while being pursued by Inter’s Sulley Muntari during their Italian Serie A match at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Saturday. Inter won the game 3-0.

PHOTO: AP

Inter went nine points clear at the top of Serie A after a stunning 3-0 win at Lazio on Saturday as AS Roma wracked up their 1,000th top flight victory with a 1-0 success at rock-bottom Chievo.

Jose Mourinho’s reigning champions are looking unstoppable as headers from Walter Samuel and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a Mobido Diakite own-goal gave Inter an easy evening in the capital.

Despite their lead, Mourinho played down talk of the title.

“The scudetto? Halfway through the season we’re nothing, but experience tells me that this is a real team,” the former Chelsea boss said. “It’s a pleasure for me to be the coach, but I don’t want to get too excited right now, we have to keep our feet on the ground. I don’t want to be winter champions, I want to be champions in May.”

Inter got off to a dream start in the Roman Stadio Olimpico when Samuel headed home a cross from Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari on two minutes.

Lazio had the better of the rest of the first period, but Aleksandar Kolarov and Ousmane Dabo thrashed vicious shots wide, while Lorenzo De Silvestri had another deflected just past the post.

Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar also tipped a shot from Pasquale Foggia onto the outside of the post as the hosts piled forward.

But disaster struck in first-half injury time as Diakite inadvertently turned a Maicon cross past Juan Pablo Carrizo in the Lazio goal.

The match was over as a contest 10 minutes into the second period as Ibrahimovic headed home an Esteban Cambiasso free-kick, although it looked to have gone in off a defender’s head.

Lazio did get the ball in the net direct from a Kolarov free-kick, but the referee disallowed the effort because he had blown his whistle for an infringement.

Luciano Spalletti’s AS Roma finished with 10 men as they won for the fourth match in a row, with French winger Jeremy Menez celebrating a rare start by scoring the only goal of the game against Chievo with a stunning volley.

Chievo remain rooted to the foot of the table while Roma moved up to 12th.

For a team who harbored hopes of winning the title before beginning the season with six defeats in their opening nine matches, they now seem firmly back on the right track.

Roma had much the better of a tame opening spell, with Menez proving a particular threat.

On 10 minutes he beat two players as he slalomed into the area, but Chievo goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was equal to his effort.

On 26 minutes Menez turned creator, dancing into the area and crossing to the edge of the six-yard box where Matteo Brighi somehow failed to score, directing his close range effort straight at the sprawled Sorrentino.

Roma turned the screw after the break and despite Sorrentino coming to the rescue again on 65 minutes to repel a Simone Perrotta volley, they went ahead four minutes later.

Once again it was Menez who proved decisive, running onto a header forward from Daniele De Rossi before steering a delightful right foot volley across Sorrentino and into the far corner.

The only sour note was Brighi’s sending off five minutes from time for a second booking.

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