Italian Serie A Roundup, Dec. 20

December 20, 2009

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.