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Inter move to second

ROME, February 28 – Goals from Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto’o helped Inter Milan defeat Sampdoria 2-0 in Genoa and move second in Serie A on a Sunday that saw Udinese hit seven at Palermo and fourth-placed Lazio lose at Cagliari.Ahead of Monday’s clash between leaders AC Milan and Napoli at the San Siro, Sneijder opened the scoring with a 73rd-minute free kick in a bruising game with chances at both ends before Eto’o settled the matter with the final kick to take Inter one point above Napoli and within two of Milan.

Lazio went down 1-0 in Sardinia but the day’s biggest shock of the day came in Sicily where Palermo were trounced 7-0 by fifth-placed Udinese with Alexis Sanchez scoring four and Antonio Di Natale the other three goals.

Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini was furious with his coach after the match.

"{Delio) Rossi has a one per cent chance of staying with Palermo", he told reporters.

"You can bet on it."

In Genoa, Inter, with Giampaolo Pazzini starting against his own club, had the better of the opening exchanges. Andrea Ronacchia fired wide and Houssine Kharja headed over before Sneijder had Samp keeper Gianluca Curci scrambling to save a vicious free kick, all inside 15 minutes.

But the home side gradually began pressuring the Inter defence. Daniele Mannini, Massimo Maccarone and Reto Ziegler went close before Andrea Poli fired against the upright on 41 minutes.

Inter had Julio Cesar to thank for keeping the scores level after saving bravely from the onrushing Maccarone but Sneijder, who had shot a whisker wide on the hour, finally broke the deadlock with a superb free kick on 73 minutes.

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The Dutchman almost did the trick again 10 minutes later, striking the post, before the always dangerous Eto’o cut inside from the left and doubled the lead deep into injury time.

Coach Leonardo said he was pleased with the way Inter ended the game.

"We try to score more goals and sometimes we get caught on the break – that’s the way we play", said the Brazilian before turning to the AC Milan-Napoli match.

"If it’s a draw it means we’ll all be there at the end but the result of tomorrow’s match won’t decide the title."

Earlier on Sunday, Lazio dropped precious points on the leaders after an effective display at Cagliari. An own goal from Andre Dias five minutes before half-time settled a tight contest in favour of Roberto Donadoni’s side, who climb to ninth.

In Palermo, the superb Alexis Sanchez hit four while last season’s capocannoniere Antonio Di Natale bagged a hat-trick to take him to 21 goals for the season, one above Napoli’s Edison Cavani.

With the home side reduced to nine men after an hour, the scoreline could well have reached double figures if Francesco Guidolin’s counter-attacking side, now a point off the Champions League places, had not let off the gas.

Despite their eighth position in the league, Zamparini all but confirmed Delio Rossi would be sacked.

"The team is broken. He’s ruined my Palermo", he told reporters after the match. "I told him to sort out the defence and he hasn’t. He left out (Ezequiel) Munoz, our best defender. You can’t go on like this".

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Rossi, who already had a fractious relationship with president Maurizio Zamparini, said he would not quit.

"I don’t know if I’ve been sacked? It depends on the club", said the former Lazio boss. "If I was at risk before the match, you can imagine what my situation is now.

"I believe we were off the pace today. This side has beaten bigger sides but today we would have lost against anyone. When you lose 7-0, there has to be someone who takes the blame and that’s me. I don’t believe in quitting; it’s not part of my vocabulary".

A second-half brace from Amauri helped struggling Parma to a 2-2 draw at sixth-placed Roma.

"We ran out of legs", said new coach Vincenzo Montella, whose inconsistent side had been two up at half-time through a Francesco Totti penalty and Juan strike.

At the bottom of the table in-form Lecce came back from two goals down to snatch a point at Brescia, whilea last-gasp penalty from Luis Jimenez saw Cesena beat Chievo Verona 1-0 rise to third from bottom.

In Sunday’s early kick off, Catania came from behind to beat Genoa 2-1 and send Diego Simeone’s side three places clear of the drop zone.

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