Italian Serie A Roundup, Sep. 19

BY foxsports • September 19, 2010

Samuel Eto'o scored twice and five-time defending champion Inter Milan rallied to beat Palermo 2-1 Sunday and return to the top of the Serie A table.

Slovenia midfielder Josip Ilicic had put Palermo in front after 28 minutes in the Sicilian capital before Eto'o struck back in the 62nd and 70th.

"We've just got to find a little more balance but we're improving," new Inter coach Rafa Benitez said.

With Diego Milito struggling, Eto'o has been the early season standout for Inter. He also scored the equalizer when Inter opened the defense of its Champions League title with a 2-2 draw against FC Twente on Tuesday and scored twice when Inter beat AS Roma in the Italian Super Cup last month.

With seven points, Inter shares the Italian league lead with newly promoted Cesena, which beat Lecce 1-0 despite having to play with 10 men due to a referee's error.

Juventus won its first match in impressive form, beating last-place Udinese 4-0 with goals from Leonardo Bonucci, Fabio Quagliarella, Claudio Marchisio and Vincenzo Iaquinta.

Meanwhile, Roma remained winless after allowing two late scores from Marco Di Vaio in a 2-2 draw with Bologna.

Also, Chievo Verona's perfect start was snapped with a 1-0 loss to Brescia, with Alessandro Diamanti - who played for West Ham in the English Premier League last season - scoring from a free kick in the 30th.

In the night game, Uruguay forward Edinson Cavani scored an 86th-minute winner as Napoli beat Sampdoria 2-1. After both teams hit the woodword, Antonio Cassano put Sampdoria ahead with a penalty in the 78th and Marek Hamsik equalized five minutes later.

Luca Toni converted a penalty for his first goal since joining Genoa but Cristian Zaccardo scored a second-half equalizer for a 1-1 draw at Parma.

In the new lunchtime fixture, Bari and Cagliari drew 0-0.

On Saturday, Filippo Inzaghi scored the equalizer as AC Milan drew 1-1 with Catania and Lazio beat Fiorentina 2-1.

In Palermo, Ilicic converted a rebound to give the hosts the lead after Inter's Dejan Stankovic smashed a long shot off the crossbar.

Palermo had a chance to double its lead in the 50th but Julio Cesar saved an effort from Ilicic's fellow Slovenian Armin Bacinovic.

Milito missed a great opportunity in the 59th and then Eto'o equalized three minutes later, dribbling by a defender and slotting in an angled shot.

In an action-filled match, Palermo's Argentine forward Javier Pastore slipped behind Inter's defense in the 66th but couldn't find the target and Eto'o then scored again after trading passes with Stankovic.

Still, the match wasn't sealed until Julio Cesar successfully deflected a shot from Pastore off the post in the 88th.

Inter was without playmaker Wesley Sneijder, who hurt his foot against Twente.

Juventus was also coming off a midweek draw with Lech Poznan in the Europa League, when it allowed two early goals. The Bianconeri got off to a better start this time, with Bonucci hitting the target from close range in the 18th following a free kick from Alessandro Del Piero.

Newly signed Quagliarella scored against his former club in the 24th following a cross from new Serbia winger Milos Krasic, who also set up a volley from Marchisio in the 43rd. Iaquinta finished off the rout in the 77th with a shot from beyond the area, a positive sign for the forward after a series of injuries kept him off Italy's World Cup squad.

In the capital, Roma went ahead seven minutes into the game through Marco Borriello, who scored his first goal since transferring from Milan. Three minutes later, Roma captain Francesco Totti hit the crossbar from 30 meters (yards).

Bologna defender Matteo Rubin added an own goal to make it 2-0 for Roma in the 59th. Di Vaio then beat Roma defender Aleandro Rosi twice in the 77th and 90th to equalize, handing Roma another poor result after a 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Europe.

"We're going through a period where things aren't working, but we'll bounce back," Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said, adding that his players have decided not to speak with the media because they are "mortified."

"We've got to be more attentive in defense. When we were ahead 2-0 we needed to control the ball more and be less frenetic," Ranieri said.

Cesena followed up its opening draw with Roma and stunning win over Milan with a tough win over Lecce. In the 37th, Giuseppe Colucci was shown his second yellow card for a foul actually committed by Japanese teammate Yuto Nagatomo, reducing Cesena to 10 men. Despite vehement protests from Cesena, the ruling was not changed.

Cesena forward Erjon Bogdani finished off a counterattack by angling in a shot off the post in the 55th and Lecce also finished with 10 men when Gianni Munari was given a direct red card for kicking Nagatomo in the 80th.

Colucci said that referee Gianluca Rocchi apologized to him after the match, adding that he hopes not to be suspended.

Players had called for a strike next weekend due to a contract dispute, although there are signs the dispute could be resolved over the next few days.

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