Inter Milan draw at Lazio, hold Roma at bay
A 1-1 draw snatched late Saturday at Lazio allowed Serie A leaders Inter Milan to retain a four-point advantage over second-place Roma. ( dpa )
Roma drew 1- 1 in their earlier game at lowly Cagliari, rallying from one down to move onto 65 points, keeping the front-runners in their sights with seven games left.
At the Stadio Olimpico, the first attack was fruitful for Inter as ex-Lazio striker Hernan Crespo flicked home from close range on 11 minutes off a feed from Douglas Maicon from the right flank.
The Rome hosts' reaction took shape through efforts from Brazilian Sanchez Cribari, who headed wide, while Frenchman Ousmane Dabo had a central drive saved.
Inter struggled in midfield but threatened through counterattacks that forced Lazio goalkeeper Marco Ballotta to save drives from Maniche, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Crespo.
There were many reversals for Lazio as Inter often botched their clearances, but only Dabo came truly close before the break with a fast drive punched high by Brazil's goalkeeper Julio Cesar.
The home crowd had to wait until the 59th minute for Tommaso Rocchi's equalizer, after Maniche fired a harmless central drive.
Captain Rocchi kept his cool when he came face to face with Julio Cesar, beating him with a low post-grazing flick.
Cesar, however, showed his great form five minutes later by slapping away a nasty shot from Valon Behrami that was previously deflected by a defender. The Brazilian seemed to stand no chance on 86 minutes but found help from the bar as he stood frozen when Dabo fired a searing shot from the distance.