Inter wins, draws within 2 points of AC Milan

ROME - Inter Milan moved within two points of Serie A leader AC Milan by beating Lecce 1-0 Sunday, while Roma captain Francesco Totti became only the sixth player to break the 200-goal barrier in the Italian league.

By (AP)

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Published: Mon 21 Mar 2011, 12:57 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:11 AM

Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani scored twice as Napoli beat Cagliari 2-1 in the late game to move within three points of Milan, giving three clubs title chances with eight rounds remaining.

Giampaolo Pazzini scored in the 52nd minute at the San Siro, setting up the possibility for Inter to take the lead when Serie A resumes with the Milan derby in two weeks.

However, key Inter center back Lucio picked up a yellow card that will rule him out of the April 2 derby.

Still, Inter has the momentum, having also advanced to the Champions League quarterfinals with a thrilling comeback win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday.

Milan lost 1-0 at Palermo on Saturday and drew 1-1 with last-place Bari the previous weekend in a match where Zlatan Ibrahimovic was sent off for punching a defender in the chest. The incident triggered a three-match ban that rules Ibrahimovic out of the derby.

“Milan is a great squad and the derby is a special game, but it’s not decisive because there will still be several more matches,” Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar said. “In any case, it’s definitely going to be a big (match).”

Pazzini scored by controlling a pass with his chest and dribbling by a defender before finding the target with an angled shot inside the area. It was the Italy international’s sixth goal with Inter since transferring from Sampdoria in January.

Lecce threatened early when Daniele Corvia’s volley landed just wide in the 18th, and Julio Cesar preserved the victory with a save on Andrea Bertolacci in the 85th.

“We did what we needed to do and we’re satisfied,” Julio Cesar added. “We were playing a team that dropped everyone back and we had to risk a bit.”

Earlier, Totti scored the 200th and 201st goals of his Serie A career in a 2-2 draw at Fiorentina.

Silvio Piola, who won the World Cup with Italy in 1938, tops the all-time scoring list with 274 goals, followed by Gunnar Nordahl (225), Giuseppe Meazza (216), Jose Altafini (216) and Roberto Baggio (205).

In Naples, Cavani converted a penalty in the 49th and then restored Napoli’s lead in the 61st after Robert Acquafresca had equalized for Cagliari. Giuseppe Mascara nearly added a third for Napoli with a header that hit the post in the 81st.

Also Sunday, Antonio Di Natale scored his league-leading 25th goal as Udinese beat Catania 2-0 to move back into fourth.

Milan leads with 62 points, Inter has 60, Napoli 59 and Udinese 56.

Juventus snapped a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 win over Brescia, with captain Alessandro Del Piero dribbling by two defenders to score the winner in the 68th.

Also, it was: Bari 1, Chievo Verona 2; Bologna 1, Genoa 1; and Sampdoria 0, Parma 1.

In Florence, Adrian Mutu dribbled by Roma defender Juan to put Fiorentina ahead in the 22nd but Roma’s John Arne Riise was taken down inside the area four minutes later to set up Totti’s 200th with a penalty kick

Defender Alessandro Gamberini then restored Fiorentina’s lead in the 34th with a close-range volley but Totti equalized again in the 52nd with an angled shot from within the area for his 201st goal.

Totti made his Serie A debut in 1993 at the age of 16 and has played his entire career with Roma, his hometown club. He said the milestone demonstrates that he has had a “a great career, a career with the same jersey.”

“I’m very proud of what I’ve done,” Totti added. “I’ve always tried to give my best on the pitch and to help the squad.”

Totti had never scored before in Florence, and struggled with long stretches on the bench this season until his former teammate Vincenzo Montella replaced Claudio Ranieri as Roma manager last month.

“There was no problem with Ranieri — actually we had a great relationship,” Totti said. “A lot of things have changed with Vincenzo, most of all the results. I’m back to myself again and I’ve rediscovered serenity.”

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