ROME - Inter Milan and Napoli closed in
on AC Milan at the top of Serie A on Sunday on a day when
Francesco Totti scored his 200th goal in the top flight.
Following Milan's 1-0 loss at Palermo on Saturday, Giampaolo
Pazzini's 52nd-minute strike was enough for a sluggish Inter to
claim the three points against Lecce at the San Siro.
Later, Edinson Cavani's double in a 2-1 win over Cagliari
re-awakened Napoli's title challenge.
With eight matches left, the results mean Inter, at present
trailing by two points, will go top should they defeat Milan in
their next match - the derby coming up on April 3 following the
break for international matches.
"The derby won't decide the title - there are 21 other
points in play," Inter coach Leonardo, who replaced Rafael
Benitez when the gap to season-long leaders Milan was 13 points,
told Italian broadcaster Rai.
"It doesn't matter who is in better form going into the
match because the derby is such a one-off. It's a difficult game
to predict and especially strange to prepare for with the
Napoli, who appeared to have thrown away a shot at the title
after losing to Milan 3-0 three weeks ago, closed to within
three points of the leaders with victory in Sunday's late match.
Cavani opened the scoring from the spot four minutes into
the second half after Ezequiel Lavezzi had been brought down in
But Cagliari, thrashed 4-0 by Udinese last week, equalised
seven minutes later through Robert Acquafresca's clever finish.
Five minutes on though, Cavani slotted home his 22nd goal of the
season to claim the points after a fine run from Marek Hamsik.
Fourth-placed Udinese are now just six points off the pace
after a long-range effort from Swiss midfielder Gokhan Inler and
a penalty from Antonio Di Natale, his 25th goal of the campaign,
saw them defeat Catania 2-0 for their fourth straight win.
In Sunday's early match, Roma and Fiorentina played out an
entertaining 2-2 draw at the Artemio Franchi stadium where
Totti's second double in a week pegged back the improving
visitors who had twice gone ahead in the first half through
Adrian Mutu and Alessandro Gamberini.
The draw maintains coach Vincenzo Montella's unbeaten start
in the league as Roma stay sixth, six points off the Champions
League spots. Totti, now on 201 goals in Serie A, is within four
of Roberto Baggio who lies fifth in the all-time list.
Inter, fresh from their Champions league success against
Bayern Munich, began on the front foot against third-from-bottom
Lecce with Wesley Sneijder testing goalkeeper Antonio Rosati
before bending a free-kick into the side-netting inside the
first 20 minutes.
With Lecce refusing to roll over, Inter moved up the gears
at the start of the second half. Pazzini, moments after seeing a
header saved, spun his man just inside the box and finished
unerringly into the corner to give the home side victory.
On Saturday, Palermo halted their five-match losing streak
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