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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan 28, 2007

Serie A: Inter maintain 11-point lead

ROME, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Inter Milan maintained their 11-point cushion at the top of Serie A when they beat Sampdoria 2-0 on Sunday.

A goal in each half by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Douglas Maicon gave Inter an easy win over Sampdoria, who played with 10 men for most of the match following the seventh-minute sending off of midfielder Gennaro Delvecchio.

Inter, who extended their record winning streak to 14 league matches, have 57 points. AS Roma lie second on 46 points after Serbian striker Mirko Vucinic scored for a 1-0 victory over Siena.

Palermo lie third on 39 points despite losing 3-0 to Lazio on Saturday.

Catania drew level with Lazio in fourth on 30 points after their 18-year-old Japanese striker Takayuki Marimoto crowned his Serie A debut by grabbing a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw away to Atalanta.

AC Milan notched up their fourth win in five games when Filippo Inzaghi scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over Parma.

Sampdoria were one of only three sides of take points off Inter in Serie A this season in a 1-1 draw at the San Siro in September.

But after losing 3-0 to a second-string Inter side in the Italian Cup in midweek, few expected the Genoa-based side to prevent Inter from extending their record winning run.

Delvecchio immediately put them at a disadvantage, getting into an argument with Marco Materazzi then following the example shown by Zinedine Zidane in last year's World Cup final by headbutting the Inter defender to earn a straight red card and leave his side a man short after just seven minutes.

His team mates soldiered on, but gradually the visitors took control.

Adriano put the ball in the back of the net from a fractionally offside position, and Sampdoria keeper Luca Castellazzi dived to stop an Ibrahimovic free kick creeping in at the base of his post.

Castellazzi was left rooted to the spot, however, in the 38th minute when Ibrahimovic headed Maicon's cross into the top corner.

Inter tightened their grip in the second half and made sure of the points in the 75th minute when Ibrahimovic caught defender Luigi Sala in possession and slid the ball across the area for Maicon to fire into the roof of the net.

Roma, who were without suspended captain Francesco Totti, had drawn their last two games against Messina and Livorno and desperately needed a win to keep a rein on Inter.

Vucinic struck just past the hour when he ran on to Francesco Tavano's defence-splitting pass and beat keeper Alex Manninger at the near post for his first goal in Serie A.

Siena had Tomas Locatelli sent off in stoppage time for elbowing Daniele De Rossi in the face.

After a week of excitement surrounding the imminent arrival of Brazilian striker Ronaldo, Milan came down to earth with a bump as they struggled to beat relegation-threatened Parma.

The six-times European champions dominated but failed to capitalise on a string of chances until the 76th minute, when an Andrea Pirlo free kick bounced through a crowded area to Inzaghi, who pulled the ball down and fired in from close range.

Milan are ninth, but with just three points separating them from Lazio and Catania they are closing in on a place in next season's Champions League.

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