Inter Milan edged closer to the top of Serie A with a comfortable 2-0 win Saturday against struggling Pescara, which can count itself lucky to have gotten away with such a modest scoreline at the San Siro.
Only a case of poor and tame finishing denied Inter a greater victory, yet the three points took the Nerazzurri above Napoli into third place, a point behind Lazio and six adrift of league leader Juventus, which travels to Parma on Sunday.
Palacio went close to opening the scoring early on and it was soon clear that Inter meant business.
Pescara rarely broke out of its own half and they allowed Inter the lion's share of the possession, but it was not until the half-hour mark that the Nerazzurri finally created something worthwhile.
That was when Palacio received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and picked his spot low into the bottom right-hand corner to give Inter the lead.
Palacio was involved in Inter's second goal in the 54th minute, this time choosing to square the ball for Guarin rather than shooting after being put through on goal again.
Guarin was given the easy task of stroking the ball in from seven yards, placing his shot through two Pescara defenders guarding the goal.
The rest of the game was a case of Inter wasting good chances, or showing reluctance to really give it their best.
Perhaps in view of a Coppa Italia quarterfinal tie with Bologna on Tuesday, Inter conserved energy and possession without causing Pescara too many problems.
Antonio Cassano got angry with himself when he overhit a pass aimed at teeing up Palacio for a third, but his anger appeared more exaggerated than sincere.
The only time Pescara did get a sight of goal was in the 77th minute when Jonathas was gifted the ball inside the penalty area by Cristian Chivu, but he blazed the ball over on the volley, missing the target considerably.
Also Saturday, Bologna eased its relegation worries with a convincing win over Chievo in a one-sided game that kicked off the second half of the Serie A season.
Gilardino effectively wrapped things up on the hour mark, with Chievo showing no signs of a recovery, though Alberto Paloschi hit a post late on before Manolo Gabbiadini added a fourth in the 89th minute.
The win lifted the Rossoblu to within three points of their opponents and five points clear of the relegation zone.