Serie A: Inter defeat Fiorentina to close gap on AC Milan
Defending champions move into third place and five points behind AC Milan after 2-1 win in Florence
Giampaolo Pazzini scored the winner as Inter Milan closed the gap on Serie A leaders AC Milan to five points with a 2-1 win over Fiorentina on Wednesday night.
Leonardo’s Inter took the lead within six minutes when Samuel Eto’o’s cross was deflected past former Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc.
But La Viola struck back on the half-hour mark through full-back Manuel Pasqual. The 28-year-old’s intended cross evaded the entire Inter defence, who were preoccupied by the presence of Fiorentina front-man Alberto Gilardino, and crept past JÃƒÂºlio Cesar to level the match.
The Nerazzurri then secured a vital victory at the Stadio Artemio Franchi thanks to new signing Pazzini’s fourth league goal since signing from Sampdoria.
Eto’o dribbled past two Fiorentina defenders on the right wing before squaring a ball to Inter’s number seven who steered the ball past Boruc after 61 minutes.
The result pushes Inter back into third place and five points behind Serie A pacesetters and derby rivals AC Milan. The result provides the perfect remedy for the defending champions after their disappointing 1-0 defeat to Juventus last Sunday in the Derby della Italia.
“Tonight was important to take the 3 points, especially after the defeat of Juventus, to get back in the race,” said Inter’s assistant manager Giuseppe Baresi after the match. “We met one of the fittest teams in the league but we played well and we were compact.”
Speaking about the Serie A title race, he added: “We are behind and we must recover, playing every game like a final.”
Meanwhile, Fiorentina boss SiniÃ…Â¡a MihajloviÃ„”¡ admitted his disappointment at the result after a match that the Serb felt his side deserved to win.
“I prefer to win and play well, but I think we got half of that right this evening,” Mihajlovic said after the match.
“We didn’t deserve to lose today, as Inter scored with their only chance of the first half, while we created a great deal. Unfortunately, you pay for your first mistake against the Nerazzurri.
The 41-year-old added: “My team gave their all and played well, so it hurts to suffer a defeat like this.”