ROME - AC Milan took a giant step
towards their first Serie A title in seven years on Saturday
when a late Robinho strike gave the Rossoneri a 1-0 win at
Brescia and an eight-point lead with four games to go.
While Milan marched on, champions and city rivals Inter
Milan beat Lazio 2-1 to move up to second place, ahead of Napoli
who lost by the same score at Palermo, while Bari were
AS Roma beat Chievo Verona 1-0 to consolidate sixth place
and close in on Udinese, three points ahead, and fourth-placed
Sent clean through by Antonio Cassano, Robinho finished
coolly eight minutes from time to give Milan a hard-earned win
over relegation-threatened Brescia, who are now five points from
Cassano should have given Milan the lead four minutes before
the break when he somehow nodded over from eight metres after
being picked out by Kevin-Prince Boateng's cross.
He missed another gilt-edged chance in the second half,
heading badly wide after brilliant skill from Clarence Seedorf.
Milan had goalkeeper Christian Abbiati to thank for late
saves from Alessandro Diamanti, whose swerving free-kick struck
the bar with 10 minutes to go.
"We should have finished them off in the first half," Milan
coach Massimiliano Allegri told Sky Italia. "There's nothing to
celebrate yet, but we'll have a nice Easter."
At the San Siro, Inter came back from a goal and a man down
to defeat Lazio.
The Nerazzurri made a lacklustre start and were reduced to
10 men after 22 minutes when Julio Cesar was sent off for
bringing down Mauro Zarate, who scored from the resultant
Wesley Sneijder then equalised with a free-kick five minutes
before half-time and Samuel Eto'o scored the winner, his 20th
goal of the season, on 53 minutes after rounding goalkeeper
A dispirited Lazio also ended the match with 10 men after
skipper Stefano Mauri was sent off on 66 minutes.
"I'm an optimist and I still think it (the title race) is
open," Inter coach Leonardo told Italy's Sky channel before the
"We had one bad week in four months which can happen. It was
an amazing win and showed just how committed this squad is."
Edinson Cavani gave Napoli a second-minute lead with a
penalty, his 26th goal of the campaign, against his former club
but Palermo hit back through Federico Balzaretti on 38 minutes.
Home coach Delio Rossi was sent from the dugout as tempers
flared but Cesare Bovo's penalty on the stroke of half-time after
Giulio Migliaccio had been felled in the box turned out to be
the winner for Palermo, who stayed eighth.
Napoli slipped to third, nine points behind Milan.
"The boys were a bit tense," said Napoli coach Walter
Mazzarri. "We're not used to being so high up the table and some
players are able to handle the pressure better than others."
Fifth-placed Udinese failed to take advantage of Lazio's
loss, losing 2-0 at home to Parma with an Amauri double giving
the visitors three precious points to go 14th.
The Brazilian had already opened the scoring by the time
Gokhan Inler was sent off for a second caution on 21 minutes,
and added his second in stoppage-time.
Bari were relegated after a second-half penalty from Nicola
Pozzi gave struggling Sampdoria a 1-0 win in Puglia that lifted
them level with third-from-bottom Lecce on 35 points. Lecce lost
4-2 in Genoa.
Cesena climbed two points clear of the drop zone after goals
from Emanuele Giaccherini and Dominique Malonga helped the Serie
A newcomers to a crucial 2-0 win at Bologna.
In a dramatic finale to the late game between seventh-placed
Juventus and lowly Catania, Francesco Lodi curled in an
exquisite free-kick to give the Sicilian side a 95th-minute
equaliser and dent Juve's European challenge.
An Alessandro Del Piero brace had put the Bianconeri in
control at half-time but Catania, now two points clear of the
relegation zone, hit back through Alejandro Gomez nine minutes
from time before Lodi's late finish to make it 2-2.
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