Juventus, Milan and Roma close gap on pace-setters Inter

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
claudio ranieri
Roma's persistence paid dividends during their Saturday night Serie A clash with Inter Milan as Rafael Benítez's side succumbed to their first league defeat of the season

claudio ranieri

Roma’s persistence paid dividends during their Saturday night Serie A clash with Inter Milan as Rafael Benítez’s side succumbed to their first league defeat of the season.

However, it is Roma’s bitter neighbours Lazio who share the Italian top spot with Inter after Mauro Zárate’s second-half strike earned the visitors a win at Chievo.

Yet to see his side win in the league, Roma boss Claudio Ranieri was already under intense pressure before the visit of treble winners Inter. After a fraught 90 minutes both teams looked set to share the spoils, the major talking point being the controversial substitution of club captain Francesco Totti.

Ranieri, however, was afforded some much-needed respite in the 92nd minute after John Arne Riise’s hopeful cross from the right wing was met by Mirko Vučinić, who glanced an emphatic header past Júlio César to seal the three points.

In Saturday’s early kick-off, new AC Milan signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his second league goal for i Rossoneri to secure a 1-0 victory for Massimiliano Allegri’s men against Genoa at the San Siro. Gennaro Gattuso’s angled long ball was greeted by the deftest of touches from the Swede.

Ibrahimovic’s strike was enough to ensure three points for the home side, but their performance hinted that they are still struggling to blend into a cohesive unit. The visitors enjoyed the better opportunities, with Milan relying heavily on the heroics of goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.

In Turin, Juventus manager Luigi Delneri was given the perfect tonic for his side’s midweek defeat to Palermo with a resounding 4-2 win over Cagliari.

Within 13 minutes exciting Serbian winger MiloÅ¡ Krasić added to his Juve account with a powerful strike from outside the area. However, just seven minutes later the Old Lady were reeled back in by the visitors when Cagliari’s Alessandro Matri took advantage of wayward defending and escaped the attention of home rearguard to level matters.

But 10 minutes before the break Miloš Krasić stole in at the far post to poke a shot past Cagliari shot-stopper Michael Agazzi. Leonardo Bonucci added a third from a set-piece as man of the match Krasić sealed his hat-trick with just under quarter of the match remaining.

The resurgent Turin side face Inter at the San Siro next Sunday while Milan make the short trip to Parma and Roma face a difficult trip to Napoli.

This weekend’s Serie A results in full:

AC Milan 1-0 Genoa
AS Roma 1-0 Inter Milan
Cesena 1-4 Napoli
Bari 2-1 Brescia
Catania 1-1 Bologna
Chievo 0-1 Lazio
Fiorentina 2-0 Parma
Palermo 2-2 Lecce
Sampdoria 0-0 Udinese
Juventus 4-2 Cagliari

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