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Inter Stumbles into First Place in Serie A

An astonishing defensive breakdown after conceding a dubious penalty with 15 minutes to go caused Inter Milan to concede three goals in the late going despite having led Chievo Verona, 4-0, after 70 minutes. Two fantastic goals from Hernan Crespo were the highlights of the 4-3 Inter victory that featured a solid team performance from the Serie A favorites until Inter lost its concentration after Sergio Pelissier's 75 minute spot kick. Nine minutes later, Simone Tiribocchi drove a 20-yard strike past Julio Cesar, and then lax defending was again to blame as Matteo Brighi crept behind a standing Inter defense to sweep a third past the despairing keeper. It was then a tense final five minutes before the Milanese fans could breathe freely again. Inter coach Roberto Mancini took the blame for Chievo's comeback. "I made too many substitutions and I created some problems," said Mancini, who removed Olivier Dacourt, Dejan Stankovic and Crespo in the second half. "It's impossible not to make changes, though, when you play five games in two weeks. Otherwise, there's no time to recuperate." Inter has been known in the past for such spectacular mental breakdowns. To be sure, the team is equally capable of staying organized and focused to beat the likes of Roma 1-0 away from home, or of conceding three goals in 10 minutes as it showed against Chievo. Elsewhere in Serie A, Roma skipped past Parma, 4-0, with ease, while AC Milan dropped its first points of the season, drawing 0-0 at Livorno. Inter is now first with 10 points in four games, followed by Roma with nine.

Read the whole story at Associated Press »

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