Italian Serie A Roundup, Dec. 20

Samuel Eto’o scored an early goal to give Inter Milan a 1-0 win at

home to Lazio on Sunday and extend its Serie A lead to eight points

going into the winter break.

Eto’o struck in the 14th minute after meeting Dejan

Stankovic’s cross from the right. The Cameroon striker’s header was

stopped by Muslera, but Eto’o reacted quickest to score his eighth

goal of the season.

Inter leads the standings with 39 points, while AC Milan is

second on 31 and Juventus third with 30. Milan has a game in hand

following the postponement of its match with Fiorentina on

Saturday.

“Psychologically I would say these are an important three

points for us,” Inter defender Ivan Cordoba said. “It is a

difference of eight and nine points and even though Milan has a

game in hand, finding time to play it could make things difficult

for them.”

Juventus continued its recent struggles with a 2-1 loss at

home to Catania for its third defeat in a row, missing out on the

chance to move into second place in Serie A.

Also, Nicolas Burdisso and Matteo Brighi scored second-half

goals to give AS Roma a 2-0 win at home to Parma. The result moves

Roma into the fourth Champions League place on 28 points.

Also Sunday it was; Livorno 3, Sampdoria 1; Napoli 2, Chievo

Verona 0; and Palermo 1, Siena 0.

Two matches were called off because of the heavy snow, with

Genoa vs. Bari and Udinese vs. Cagliari to be played later.

Inter came out attacking, and Thiago Motto fired in a low

shot in the fourth minute that Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera

did well to stop in icy conditions.

Esteban Cambiasso went close with a free kick after halftime

and Diego Milito fired wide from the edge of the area.

“It would have been better if we could have been able to

score a second,” Cordoba said. “It would have made things more

comfortable as they are a team that is struggling and was likely

they would make life difficult for us.”

Lazio struggled to create chances and even the introduction

of former Inter striker Julio Cruz failed to spark the attack.

In Turin, Mariano Izco scored the winner in the 87th minute

to secure Catania’s second victory of the season, although the club

remained next to last and in the relegation zone.

Hasan Salihamidzic had equalized for Juventus in the 66th.

Jorge Martinez had given Catania the lead with a first-half

penalty.

Juventus lost 3-1 to Bari in the previous round, and was

eliminated from the Champions League after losing 4-1 to Bayern

Munich in the last group match.

“We are in the middle of a bad period,” Juventus coach Ciro

Ferrara said. “If we stay together we can get through it. I’m not

going to give up.

Martinez converted the penalty in the 23rd after Tiago fouled

Nicolas Spolli, despite being ordered to retake it for a second

time.

Diego had a good chance to equalize in the 52nd after Martin

Carceres picked him out on the edge of the area, but the Brazilian

fired over the bar.

Salihamidzic brought Juventus level in the 66th, reaching a

loose ball in the area first to fire home the equalizer.

Nicola Legrottaglie headed over from Diego’s free kick in the

82nd, before Izco clipped the ball over Juventus goalkeeper Alex

Manninger for the win.

A group of Juventus fans protested on the touchline after the

match over the string of poor results.

“We are as disappointed as the fans,” Ferrara said. “We are

all going through a difficult period and the recent results are not

at the level we expect at Juventus.”

In Rome, neither Roma nor Parma were able to create many

chances in the first half. The best went to Roma striker Mirko

Vucinic, who shot wide in the 37th.

Roma then took the lead three minutes into the second half

after Parma’s defense failed to clear the ball from a corner and

Burdisso pounced to shoot low into the net.

The Argentine also set up Marco Motta with a good chance in

the 77th, but the defender poked his shot wide.

Julio Baptista came of the bench in the 84th and immediately

forced Parma goalkeeper Antonio Mirante into a save with a long

range shot.

In injury time, Vucinic slipped the ball into the path of

Matteo Brighi and the midfielder fired home his second of the

season.