Tue, Mar 22, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Inter close gap on Milan, Totti hits 200th goal

AFP, ROME

Inter closed the gap on leaders AC Milan to just two points ahead of the top of the table city derby in two weeks time with a 1-0 victory over lowly Lecce on Sunday.

Giampaolo Pazzini scored the only goal of the game seven minutes into the second period to close even further a gap that once stood at 13 points.

It now means that Inter could go top for the first time this season if they beat their bitter rivals when Serie A resumes after next week’s international break.

Inter coach Leonardo was keen to play down the crunch super-clash.

“It won’t be decisive because there will still be another seven games to play and so all of them will be decisive,” he said.

Following Milan’s shock 1-0 defeat at Palermo on Saturday, there is now a three-way fight for the title as third-placed Napoli closed the gap to the leaders to three points with a 2-1 win over Cagliari.

Inter were far from their best against Lecce as they struggled to raise their game following their dramatic late efforts in the 3-2 success at Bayern Munich in midweek that saw them through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Daniele Corvia had the best early chance for Lecce, but he flicked his shot wide of the near post.

Wesley Sneijder bent a free-kick over the wall at the other end, but he too curled it past the near post.

Pazzini struck just a minute after Lecce goalkeeper Antonio Rosati had made a brilliant save from the striker’s free header.

However, with his second chance he controlled the ball with his chest as he burst past his marker and fired across Rosati into the far corner.

In Naples, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani was the star of the show as he scored both goals.

He converted a 49th-minute penalty after strike-partner Ezequiel Lavezzi was felled in the box.

Although Robert Acquafresca restored parity with a shot from an angle, Cavani hit the winner as he ran onto a ball over the top and lobbed goalkeeper Michael Agazzi.

Earlier, Francesco Totti scored his 200th Serie A goal for Roma, but it wasn’t enough to inspire his team to victory at Fiorentina.

Twice the hosts led through Adrian Mutu and Alessandro Gamberini, who scored his first goal since 2007, but Totti netted from the spot and then added his 201st league strike after the break.

One-club man Totti, who is sixth on the all-time Serie A scoring list, said there’s plenty more to come.

“The numbers speak of a great career in which I’ve always wanted to honor the same shirt,” he said. “I’m proud of what I’ve done, but I’m not stopping there. I always try to do my best.”

Udinese went back above Lazio into the Champions League qualification positions with a 2-0 win over Catania, while Juventus won for only the fourth time in 14 league games with a 2-1 success against second-bottom Brescia.

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