My Soccer World

Serie A: Last Gasp Goal Hands Inter Top Spot

Posted on: November 10, 2008

ROME: An injury time goal from Argentine substitute Julio Cruz sent champions Inter Milan top of Serie A with a 1-0 victory over plucky Udinese.

Inter’s city rivals AC Milan can retake top spot if they beat Lecce in the match played late yesterday.

Until the late drama at the San Siro, Napoli looked to be heading for the scudetto summit as they beat Sampdoria 2-0.

The result in Milan was tough on Udinese who were on the brink of holding out for a deserved point until they lost concentration at a corner.

The first half was notable only for being completely forgettable without a single chance of any significance.
Udinese charged out of the traps after the break as Antonio Floro Flores weaved his way into the area and forced Julio Cesar into making a low save to his right.

Fabio Quagliarella also went close for the visitors before Udinese’s Slovenian goalkeeper Samir Handanovic came to his team’s rescue twice within seconds, saving a fierce drive from Zlatan Ibrahimovic before pouncing on the loose ball as Mario Balotelli lurked.

Inter captain Javier Zanetti almost won it two minutes from time with skidding long-range strike but that cannoned back off the post with Handanovic beaten.

But then deep into injury time Udinese’s defenders all got drawn to the near post at a corner, which was flicked on leaving Cruz free to head home in the middle of the six yard box.

Napoli, who are one point behind Inter in second, opened the scoring in the first half through Daniele Mannini, who tapped home at the far post after a cross from Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Antonio Cassano had a goal harshly ruled out for offside before Mannini twice within a few seconds cleared off the Napoli line.

Uruguay forward Marcelo Zalayeta came off the bench to add the second, finishing off into the empty net after a shot from the excellent Lavezzi was deflected, wrong-footing goalkeeper Luca Castellazzi.

Lazio are up to third after a 3-0 win over Siena with captain Tommaso Rocchi scoring twice in the last four minutes following an opener from Argentine Mauro Zarate.

Juventus are up to sixth after their fourth win in a row as they triumphed 2-0 at second from bottom Chievo.

Evergreen forward Alessandro Del Piero proved he’s lost none of his brilliance with yet another stunning free-kick five minutes before the break.

Del Piero has already hit the net with sumptuous free-kicks in victories over Real Madrid, Zenit St Petersburg and AS Roma this season and once again he demonstrated his unerring ability to find the top corner with a dead ball.

Vincenzo Iaquinta secured the three points by adding a second after the restart as Juve moved onto 21 points, just one win off top.

Fiorentina are also still in the mix, just one point behind Juve, as they won 2-1 at home to Atalanta.

New Straits Times

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