Udinese ended Leonardo’s perfect record since taking over as Inter coach with a 3-1 win over the Italian champions on Sunday, while city rivals AC Milan retained their four-point lead at the top.
Inter remain in fifth place on 35 points, but are nine adrift of leaders AC Milan, who edged Cesena 2-0 in Sunday’s late game, but it was not a convincing Milan performance as they needed an own-goal from Maximiliano Pellegrino for a 45th-minute opener.
Pellegrino, who had also netted against his own team last weekend in the clash with AS Roma, was put under pressure by Antonio Cassano and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and was unable to prevent the ball crossing the line.
Ibrahimovic added the second goal in the third minute of stoppage-time for his 13th league strike of the season.
Milan’s win was overshadowed by a serious shoulder injury suffered by veteran defender Alessandro Nesta, who was hurt in a collision with Igor Budin and was substituted in the 20th minute.
He could be ruled out for up to three weeks after it was originally thought he would miss three months.
“It was a deserved win,” Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. “We had lots of chances, so I am satisfied, but we have worries over Gennaro Gattuso, who has a thigh injury, and Alessandro Nesta also with his shoulder.”
Giving his reaction to his first loss in charge, Leonardo told Inter’s Web site that the team would get over the loss to Udinese.
“In football you lose games, it’s no big deal. It won’t change the way we see things and it won’t change the way I see the team,” Leonardo said. “We got off to a great start. Taking the lead at a stadium like this and against a team like Udinese was no mean feat, so I don’t think it was a case of us making mistakes or losing our concentration. Perhaps we were a bit tense because of how a few things went.”
Napoli replaced AS Roma in second place after a 2-0 win at Bari.
Argentina’s Ezequiel Lavezzi fired Napoli in front with a 38th-minute free-kick, before Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani added the second, three minutes from time, his 14th goal of the season.
SS Lazio stayed in fourth place after crashing to a shock 3-1 defeat at Bologna.
Sergio Floccari gave Lazio a fifth-minute lead, before Uruguayan Gaston Ramirez leveled in the 36th minute.
Three minutes later, Marco Di Vaio put Bologna ahead and the same player added the third in stoppage-time for his 13th league goal of the campaign.
Juventus are sixth, just behind Inter on goal difference, after a 0-0 draw at Sampdoria, where their only fit striker, Amauri, played with a face mask to protect a broken nose.
In Sunday’s other matches, Chievo drew 0-0 with Genoa, while Fiorentina came from behind to grab a point in a 1-1 draw with Lecce at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.
Additional reporting by staff writer
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