MILAN - Inter Milan had both centre backs
sent off in the first half but the ultra-tough Serie A leaders
still battled to a 0-0 home draw with Sampdoria on Saturday.
Walter Samuel caught Nicola Pozzi with his arm as the last
man and was given a straight red card on the half-hour before
Ivan Cordoba picked up a second yellow for a foul on the striker
after 39 minutes.
Despite the advantage, fourth-placed Samp failed to impose
themselves and relentless Inter carved out the best chances for
Samuel Eto'o and Wesley Sneijder in their third successive draw.
More controversy came when Cameroon striker Eto'o, returning
to the lineup but not assured of a start against Chelsea, was
booked for diving in the area in the second half.
Mourinho, who has now not lost in 130 domestic home league
games over eight years at Porto, Chelsea and Inter, burst out
laughing at that point while the San Siro crowd waved white
tissues at the referee in a protest rarely seen in Italy.
Samp then had Giampaolo Pazzini dismissed for two bookings
to effectively end their hopes of extending their four-game
winning streak and doing the double over the Italian champions.
Inter midfielder Dejan Stankovic returned from a month out
while Javier Zanetti played at left back with Davide Santon
injured and looks poised to retain the role on Wednesday.
Seventh-placed Genoa are just two points behind city rivals
Samp, who now have 40 points, in the fourth Champions League
qualifying spot following an easy 3-0 home win over Udinese in
Saturday's early game.
Striker Robert Acquafresca grabbed the opener on the rebound
after half an hour and then won and converted a penalty early in
the second half.
Udinese defender Cristian Zapata was sent off for a second
booking before Rodrigo Palacio turned in a third to leave the
visitors just a point above the drop zone.
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