MILAN Italy October 22 – Inter Milan maintained their pursuit of Serie A leaders Juventus with a 2-0 win over Catania as Francesco Totti-inspired Roma dominated a six-goal thriller against Genoa at the Olympic Stadium Sunday.
Inter’s fourth win on the trot came thanks to goals from Antonio Cassano and Argentina international Rodrigo Palacio and leaves Andrea Stramaccioni’s side in fourth place only four points behind leaders Juventus.
The Nerazzurri face Juventus away on November 3, and Stramaccioni believes the match — coming after fixtures against Bologna and Sampdoria — could be a turning point for their season.
“Maybe after the Juve game we’ll have a clearer idea of what lies in store for us this season,” said Stramaccioni.
In 30 previous encounters Catania had registered only five wins to 21 for their hosts.
And win number 22 looked on the cards when Cassano headed the ball between the legs of ‘keeper Mariano Andujar to give Inter a 28th minute lead.
With five goals in a total of eight matches Stramaccioni is getting a good return on the former Milan striker.
But the Inter handler believes Diego Milito, without a goal this month, will soon come good.
“Milito didn’t score because he made some sacrifices, but I still think he will be our top scorer in the end,” he said.
The 36-year-old was particularly pleased by his improved defence, seven weeks after they leaked three goals in a shock 3-1 defeat at home to Roma.
“After we conceded those goals against Roma we’ve conceded only three more in six games, I’m happy about that,” said Stramaccioni.
Juve took sole lead of the title race Saturday when goals from second-half substitutes Juan Caceres and Paul Pogba secured a 2-0 home win over Napoli and left Walter Mazzarri’s side in second three points adrift.
Juve stand-in coach Angelo Alessio said Juve, now on 22 points and the only unbeaten team in the league, had only one priority against Napoli.
“We went out tonight (Saturday) to win. When we scored our opener, it was no surprise. We put six players up for that corner who could potentially score,” he said.
Lazio, meanwhile, maintained their early season charge with a 3-2 win over embattled AC Milan that left the Rome-based side in third place four points behind Juve.
AC Milan’s fifth defeat in eight games in unlikely to lead to the sacking of coach Massimiliano Allegri, according to Milan officials mindful of the fact he lost the spine of his team during a turbulent summer transfer period.
But it is a tough week for the Rossoneri, who face Malaga in the Champions League Wednesday and Genoa Saturday in a match which Milan, now sixth from bottom on seven points, must win if they are to consider getting back into the title race.
In Sunday’s late match Roma bounced back from conceding two goals inside the first 15 minutes at Genoa to put four past ‘keeper Sebastien Frey at a stunned Luigi Ferraris stadium.
Totti reduced the arrears on 27 minutes, his 217th Serie A career goal meaning he makes third place in the all-time rankings his own.
Previously, Totti had shared third spot (216) with Giuseppe Meazza (Inter, AC Milan, Juventus) and Jose Altafini (AC Milan, Napoli, Juventus).
Argentine-born striker Pablo Osvaldo made up for his mediocre display in Italy’s 3-1 win over Denmark in midweek by levelling on 44 minutes.
Osvaldo scored his second 10 minutes after the restart, while Argentine teammate Erik Lamela rounded it off with a long-range effort which beat Frey seven minutes from time.
Roma’s fourth win in eight games cements fifth place, albeit eight points behind Juventus, with a two-point lead on Fiorentina.