Inter snaps skid by toppling Chievo
Milan, Italy (Sports Network) - Inter Milan ended a poor run of form on Sunday by securing a 3-1 win over Chievo at the San Siro.
A run of just one win in seven games dropped Inter out of the Champions League places, but Sunday's victory moves them to within a point of third-place Lazio and very much in the hunt to return to Europe's premier club competition.
The match got off to a flying start for the home side in the second minute when Antonio Cassano drove a powerful volley to the near post from a tight angle that somehow slipped through goalkeeper Christian Puggioni to put Inter ahead, 1-0.
Chievo responded in the 21st minute through Luca Rigoni who found himself unmarked at the near post and steered a header past goalkeeper Samir Handanovic from a Bojan Jokic cross.
However, Inter regained control five minutes later when Andrea Ranocchia got up to head home Cassano's corner kick, while Inter nearly made it 3-1 before halftime as Walter Gargano's free kick crashed against the post.
Inter needed only five minutes after halftime to add to its lead when Esteban Cambiasso slipped a pass into the penalty area for Diego Milito, who took a touch and quickly got off a shot under pressure that sailed inside the left post, leaving Chievo with no way back.
Cagliari 1, AC Milan 1
Cagliari, Italy - Mario Balotelli's 82nd-minute penalty kick rescued a point for AC Milan as the Rossoneri had to settle for a 1-1 draw at bottom-half Cagliari.
Victor Ibarbo handed the hosts a 1-0 lead on the stroke of halftime when he drifted under a chipped pass from Daniele Conti and sent a glancing header back across goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and inside the left post.
Milan was below par on Sunday but put together a furious rally in the final 15 minutes that saw Balotelli earn a penalty kick after he was pulled down inside the area by Cagliari's Davide Astori, who was handed his second yellow card.
Balotelli stepped to the spot and kept his nerve to level the contest, and he nearly netted the winner in stoppage time but his overhead kick was ruled out after the linesman said the ball crossed the end line in the build up.
Cagliari sits four points above the relegation places with the result while Milan falls to fifth.
Bologna 1, Siena 1
Bologna, Italy - Siena collected a point on Sunday at Bologna as the visitors continued their relegation battle with a 1-1 draw that keeps them four points from safety.
Having lost seven of its last nine matches, Siena was in need of a good start and got one in the 33rd minute when Innocent Emeghara scored on a close-range header from Alessio Sestu's cross.
But the home side created the majority of the chances and found themselves level seven minutes later when Alessandro Diamanti's free kick was redirected home by Panagiotis Kone.
Bologna had the better of the play in the second half but had to settle for a point which sees the club stay eight points clear of the drop zone.
Palermo 1, Pescara 1
Palermo, Italy - Fellow relegation strugglers Palermo and Pescara played out a 1-1 draw at the Renzo Barbera on Sunday to keep both sides in the bottom three.
Both teams have been in poor form with Palermo failing to win any of its last nine matches ahead of the contest, while Pescara had sustained four straight defeats.
The visitors looked to be in position to move out of the drop zone when Birkir Bjarnason put them in front in the 73rd minute with a powerful header from six yards that eluded the reach of goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino.
However, the hosts battled back to claim a point 10 minutes from time when Diego Fabbrini found himself open at the back post and was able to steer the ball back across goalkeeper Mattia Perin and into the net.
Sampdoria 3, Roma 1
Genoa, Italy - Roma's struggles continued on Sunday with a 3-1 defeat at Sampdoria in the managerial debut of Aurelio Andreazzoli.
The new boss saw his side go behind in the 56th minute to a goal from Sampdoria's Marcelo Estigarribia, while Pablo Osvaldo missed the chance to equalize from the penalty spot in the 69th with a weak effort that was easily stopped by goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
Gianluca Sansone made it 2-0 in the 73rd, and even though Roma pulled to within a goal through Erik Lamela two minutes later, the hosts quickly restored their two-goal lead with Mauro Icardi finding himself unmarked and easily heading home a corner kick.
Roma has now failed to win any of its last six games and has slipped to ninth place.
Udinese 1, Torino 0
Udine, Italy - A seventh-minute goal from Robert Pereyra was all that was needed on Sunday to help Udinese to a 1-0 win over Torino, extending the team's unbeaten streak at the Stadio Friuli to 11 matches.
The win helps Udinese climb to seventh in the league table and only four points adrift of a European place.
Udinese's goal came on virtually its first chance of the match as Antonio Di Natale's powerful strike could only be parried by Torino goalkeeper Jean- Francois Gillet, allowing Pereyra to score on the rebound.
Torino brought a seven-match unbeaten streak into the game, however the closest that the visitors came to an equalizer in the second half was from Alessio Cerci's shot which beat goalkeeper Daniele Padelli but crashed off the crossbar.
Parma 0, Genoa 0
Parma, Italy - Genoa was denied three valuable points by the woodwork on Sunday as the club had to settle for a 0-0 draw at Parma.
Genoa's Andrea Bertolacci was the most dangerous man on the field on Sunday, and he twice had chances to put his side ahead in the second half, only to see the opportunities strike the post.
Bertolacci got things going early in the second half when his 25-yard shot beat Parma goalkeeper Nicola Pavarini but hit the far post.
Nine minutes later, Bertolacci found himself in a good position in the middle of the penalty area and once again beat Pavarini, only for the post to come to the goalkeeper's rescue once more.
Genoa sits one point above 18th-place Pescara with the result.
Atalanta 0, Catania 0
Bergamo, Italy - Catania failed to win for the fourth time in five games as the club was held to a frustrating 0-0 draw at Atalanta.
The visitors brought momentum into the game and were hoping to keep their run of good form going against a bottom-half opponent.
And although Catania was the better side, the club squandered good chances in the first half as both Lucas Castro and Alejandro Gomez probably should have scored for the visitors.
Atalanta goalkeeper Andrea Consigli then preserved the point in the second half when he produced a fine stop on Francesco Lodi's corner kick.