Inter Milan regain lead in Serie A, hope for Roma's slip-up
Inter Milan moved past Roma at the top of the Serie A Saturday through goals from Diego Milito, McDonald Mariga and Cristian Chivu as they came from behind to beat lowly Atalanta 3-1.
With three games left, Inter lie two points clear of Roma, who can regain the lead if they beat visiting Sampdoria late Sunday, dpa reported.
The game at the Giuseppe Meazza took an uphill turn on five minutes for the defending champions when Thomas Manfredini set up Simone Tiribocchi past a napping Marco Materazzi and the Rome-born veteran fired under the bar.
Two minutes later the striker came very close to doubling as his header off a free-kick flew narrowly wide to the left of a frozen Julio Cesar.
The Brazilian goalkeeper had conceded his last goal in a Serie A home game on January 9 in a 4-3 beating of lowly Siena.
The relegation-doomed Bergamo hosts, however, were suicidal on 24 minutes as defender Paolo Bianco seemed able to control a long feed but instead perfectly set up Milito, who scored his 20th goal aiming a drooping shot from outside the area.
Atalanta were on the ropes under the hosts' pressure and were beaten against on 35 minutes, failing to clear a ball squared by Samuel Eto'o for the flick of Kenya's Mariga, on target for the first time since arriving from Parma in February.
Tiberio Guarente opened the second half firing a loose ball above Julio Cesar, but Inter remained in control and came close with an effort from Sulley Muntari before defender Cristian Chivu sealed his side's win with 12 minutes to go.
Ferdinando Coppola dove to his right, but failed to reach the Romanian's post-grazing drive from the distance.
In later action, AC Milan have a nine-point deficit from the top as they visit Palermo, a Sicily side hoping to clinch a fourth available berth for the next Champions League. Sampdoria are currently fourth ahead of their visit to Roma.