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Inter lays Lazio low
by Ian Plenderleith, December 8th, 2008 7AM



[ITALY] Inter maintained its six-point lead at the top of Serie A with a 3-0 win at Lazio, while Juventus left it until the last minute to win at Lecce. A Kaka goal was enough to give Milan the edge at home to Catania, while the Roma revival continued with a win at bottom-place Chievo Verona.

Inter struck early at Lazio through Argentine defender Walter Samuel, then doubled its lead just before the interval on an own goal from Lazio's Mobido Diakite. Zlatan Ibrahimovic secured the point before the hour-mark with a third, prompting Inter coach Jose Mourinho to hold forth upon the essence of soccer: "Soccer is tactics, but it's also human, mental, emotional," he said, "and Inter is a true team in this respect. Scoring in the first minute is just a consequence of the team going on the pitch without fear, and this is very important."

Juventus had to rely on a last-minute header from Brazilian striker Amauri, bringing his total this season to eight, to take three points away from Lecce, whose Daniele Cacia had equalized Juve's go-ahead free-kick goal from Sebastian Diovinco. "This group never gives up and always fights till the end," Juve coach Claudio Ranieri said, as coaches tend to when their team scores a late winner. "Today we were obliged to do so. After the goal we were overconfident and were punished for it."

Milan needed a deflected second-half strike from Kaka to vanquish Catania, with Coach Carlo Ancelotti calling the win "entirely deserved. We played well, suffering only a bit near the end. Catania only created two chances, I am happy also because I saw a better defense, which gave little away." Nothing makes an Italian coach happier than a defense that gives little away, and it's no revelation that the top three teams have conceded the fewest goals, but without rattling the net much at the other end. Milan has allowed 13 (in 15 games), Juventus 10, and Inter just eight.

There was another 1-0 win for Roma, French striker Jeremy Menez scoring his first of the season at Chievo Verona. Christian Maggio and German Denis, with his sixth of the campaign, kept Napoli in fourth and in touch with the leading pack as it beat Siena 2-0. Fiorentina, in fifth place, was an easy 4-1 winner at Torino, with Alberto Gilardino scoring a brace to bring his tally to 11 (including the one he scored with his arm that lead to a two-game ban).

Genoa is in sixth after beating Sampdoria 1-0 in the northern port city derby, Diego Milito winning the game with his 12th goal of the season to make him Serie A's top scorer above Gilardino. Udinese's miserable run continued with its fifth successive loss as it fell 3-0 at Atalanta, which moved up to seventh.

Goals scored Dec. 6-7: 24 in 10 games (2.4 per game)
Goals scored in season 2008-09: 352 in 149 games (2.36 per game)


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