Late slip leaves Roma even further adrift of Inter Milan

AP , ROME

Tue, Jan 16, 2007 - Page 19

AS Roma surrendered an injury-time penalty in a 1-1 draw with Messina on Sunday and dropped nine points behind Serie A leader Inter Milan.

Christian Chivu was called for a pointless foul inside the area on Messina striker Arturo Di Napoli and Alessandro Parisi converted the spot kick.

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti acknowledged that a penalty was the right call.

"We weren't able to close the match out. A single point just isn't enough," Spalletti said. "Inter are nine points in front, but nobody's going to give up. We're going to try and catch them."

Inter beat Torino 3-1 on Saturday for a league-record 12th-straight win.

Inter lead the league with 51 points. Roma are next with 42 points, followed by Palermo with 38. Palermo beat Udinese 2-0 with goals by Andrea Caracciolo and Cristian Zaccardo.

Lazio moved into a tie with Catania for fourth following a 1-1 draw with Siena yesterday.

Francesco Cozza equalized for Siena in the 87th after Tommaso Rocchi headed in for Lazio in the 61st.

Chievo Verona rallied to beat Catania 2-1 with goals by Franco Semioli and Sergio Pellissier.

AC Milan edged Reggina 3-1 with goals by Andrea Pirlo, Clarence Seedorf and Alberto Gilardino. The Rossoneri are tied for ninth with 23 points.

Roma went ahead on a goal by Brazilian midfielder Amantino Mancini in the 39th minute, off a setup from Roma captain Francesco Totti.

Messina protested that the goal came when one of their men was down, and the Sicilian club's fans grew violent, breaking a plexiglass barrier separating them from the field. One fan ran onto the field and the game was suspended for about five minutes.

Parisi's equalizer came in the second minute of injury time. Two minutes later, he picked up his second yellow card and Messina ended the match with 10 men.

Messina goalkeeper Marco Storari deflected a shot by Marco Cassetti wide in the seventh minute of added time.

Newly acquired Sweden midfielder Christian Wilhelmsson made his Roma debut in the final 10 minutes.

On the other side of Sicily, Caracciolo scored his first goal for Palermo this season in the 32nd. Amauri, Palermo's top scorer this season, is likely to be out for the rest of the campaign following right knee surgery, and the club is counting on Caracciolo to pick up the slack.

Zaccardo, still known mainly for his own-goal against the US at the World Cup, notched his third score of the season in the 75th.

At the San Siro, Pirlo's first goal for Milan this season came on a curling free kick in the seventh minute.

Seedorf converted off a give-and-take with Marek Jankulovski in the 35th and Gilardino scored his seventh this season in the 78th after Reggina's Rolando Bianchi had made it a 2-1 game in the 67th.