Serie A: Inter go clear after tenth straight win
MILAN, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Inter Milan claimed their 10th consecutive league triumph on Wednesday, a 2-0 win at Lazio maintaining their seven-point lead in Serie A.
Goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Marco Materazzi secured victory for Roberto Mancini's side, who had Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off in first-half stoppage time.
Second-placed AS Roma kept up the chase with a 2-1 win at Torino.
Palermo, 11 points adrift of Inter in third place, crushed Ascoli 4-0 while Brazilian Kaka scored twice as AC Milan beat Catania 3-0 at the San Siro.
Inter's first win at Lazio for more than 10 years was set up when Hernan Crespo did well to slip the ball into the path of fellow Argentine Cambiasso to score after 39 minutes.
Ibrahimovic was sent off for a second bookable offence after showing dissent to an offside decision by kicking the ball away.
"We had the game in hand until Zlatan's dismissal and then unfortunately it got a bit tough for us after the break," said Mancini.
Down to 10 men, Inter had to survive Lazio pressure and Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar needed to keep out a fierce volley from defender Massimo Oddo.
But Inter doubled their advantage five minutes from the end when Italian international Materazzi headed home a cross from Portuguese winger Luis Figo, the defender celebrating by kissing the boot of the former Real Madrid player.
Roma took a grip on their game in the 24th minute when Torino's Ivan Franceschini handled a Francesco Totti shot on the goalline and was sent off.
Christian Abbiati saved Totti's penalty but Roma grabbed the lead in the 37th minute when Brazilian Mancini's shot deflected off Totti to beat the wrong-footed keeper.
Mancini made it 2-0 in the 80th minute before Torino pulled a goal back near the end through Alessandro Rosina.
Milan's convincing victory over Catania means they are within six points of fourth-placed Sampdoria.
Kaka put 13th-placed Milan ahead after four minutes when he was neatly set up by Alberto Gilardino.
Gilardino got on the scoresheet after the break, slotting home from close range before he set up Kaka again for Milan's third.