Inter joined SS Lazio on 18 points in Serie A on Sunday with a 2-0 win over a Catania team that threatened to steal a point until the final five minutes.
Antonio Cassano opened the scoring in the 28th minute at the San Siro by easily heading in a pass from Esteban Cambiasso and Rodrigo Palacio secured the win with an expert chest control and volley in the 85th.
Sergio Almiron, Mariano Izco and the rest of Catania’s Argentine-filled squad had several chances, but Inter’s talented strike trio of Cassano, Palacio and Diego Milito proved too much to handle.
Cassano has five goals since transferring from city rivals AC Milan on the eve of the season and he continues to impress, despite being left out of the Italy national squad recently.
Inter and SS Lazio both trail leaders Juventus by four points, with SSC Napoli just one point ahead in second.
“The standings are not important, we shouldn’t be looking at that,” Inter manager Andrea Stramaccioni said. “We took an important step today. In the second half, for the first time this season, I saw fluid movement without conceding anything.”
AS Roma are fifth, eight points back, following a 4-2 comeback win at Genoa.
After Juraj Kucka and Bosko Jankovic gave Genoa a 2-0 lead after just 15 minutes, Roma hit back through Francesco Totti’s 217th Serie A goal — to move to third place on the all-time list — a brace from Pablo Osvaldo and another from Erik Lamela.
“During the first 20 minutes we didn’t read the match well, then our skill and quality emerged, and we were able to play solid football,” Osvaldo said.
ACF Fiorentina are next, 10 points back, after a 1-1 draw at AC Chievo Verona.
Cyril Thereau gave Chievo the lead in the 17th minute and Gonzalo Rodriguez equalized for Fiorentina a minute later. Fiorentina striker Luca Toni hit the post at the end of the first half.
The Viola are yet to win away.
Elsewhere, Parma beat 10-man UC Sampdoria with two goals from Brazilian-born forward Amauri; US Citta di Palermo and Torino drew 0-0; while 10-man Udinese edged out promoted Delfino Pescara 1936 with a 53rd-minute goal from Brazilian midfielder Maicosuel, whose missed “Panenka” penalty-kick cost Udinese a spot in the UEFA Champions League a couple of months ago.
Also, Atalanta BC celebrated their 105th anniversary with a 2-1 comeback win over last-placed AC Siena, with goals from Luca Cigarini and Giacomo Bonaventura.
Earlier, Cagliari beat Bologna 1-0 to move out of the relegation zone.
Belgium midfielder Radja Nainggolan scored on the hour mark by finishing off a counterattack with a shot from the edge of the area.
The best Bologna could produce was a header off the post from Alberto Gilardino in the first half and a dangerous effort from Alessandro Diamanti in the 78th minute that Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi stopped with a reflex save.