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Strange Muntari goal gives Inter win over Juve (VIDEO)
by Ian Plenderleith, November 24th, 2008 7AM



[ITALY] Inter Milan opened up a three-point lead at the top over its city rival after a 1-0 win over Juventus. Milan was held to a 2-2 draw in Torino, while Roma's mini-revival continued with its first road win of the campaign.

Inter and Juventus fought out a close, intense game that was decided by a strange goal from Sulley Muntari (VIDEO) with just under 20 minutes remaining. The player received a mishit shot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic as he ran in unmarked on goal, and himself made a hash of his shot as he side-footed it first time toward Juve goalkeeper Alex Manninger. But Manninger was so convinced that Muntari was offside that he made no attempt to reach the ball as it went past him.

Unfortunately for Manninger, as replays proved, Muntari was easily two yards onside when Ibrahimovic played the ball. The former Portsmouth player was so grateful for the sequence of luck that gave him his first Inter goal that he bent down to kiss the San Siro turf. "I didn't score a nice goal," he said afterward, "but it was certainly a very important one."

Inter coach Jose Mourinho somewhat unfairly accused Juventus of being negative, but conceded that "they are a good team and [Giorgio] Chiellini is an excellent defender, and this is why I decided to play Adriano. It was important to have a striker alongside Ibrahimovic and Adriano had the physique to keep the Bianconeri defense busy and give more freedom to Ibrahimovic." Juventus midfielder Pavel Nedved noted, "They were clever enough not to allow us to play. A draw however would have been more just. The match was quite balanced but we accept the defeat and are ready to move on."

Milan's Brazilians scored two superb goals at Torino -- an Alexandre Pato volley and an unstoppable free kick from Ronaldinho -- but they were sandwiched between efforts from Roberto Stellone and a penalty 12 minutes from time converted by Alessandro Rosina. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti lamented his team's inability to close the game. "After a good first half, the second half could have been handled much better," said Ancelotti. "We should have covered better and not given away so many chances to Torino. We played well in parts, we played good possession soccer, but we are lacking in the decisive moments."

Among the chasing pack, Fiorentina downed Udinese 4-2, although Udinese's opening goal from Antonio Floro Flores was the goal of the day -- the striker made space for himself under pressure with some breathtaking footwork before stroking in a lovely shot from outside of the penalty area. Riccardo Montolivo scored twice for Fiorentina, which is sixth, one place ahead of Udinese. Just above them, Lazio in fifth was held at home 1-1 by Genoa, while Napoli in fourth also tied at home, 2-2 against Cagliari.

Roma finally won away, and did so convincingly with a 3-0 win at Lecce. Goals from Mirko Vucinic, Juan and a cheeky chip from Francesco Totti helped the club up to fifteenth, three points above the relegation zone. The three bottom spots are occupied by Reggina, despite a 3-1 home win over Atalanta, Bologna (held at home 1-1 by Palermo), and Chievo Verona, beaten at home by late two penalty kicks against Siena.

Goals scored weekend of Nov. 22-23: 31 in 10 games (3.1 per game)
Goals scored in season 2008-09: 307 in 129 games (2.38 per game)

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