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By ESPN Staff

Serie A: Stuttering Palermo held by Chievo

ROME, Feb 18 (Reuters) - Palermo's stuttering Serie A form continued on Sunday, when they were held 1-1 by relegation-threatened Chievo.

The Sicilian side, who have earned four points in their last four games, lie third in the division on 43 points, 20 behind leaders Inter Milan, who beat Cagliari 1-0 on Saturday.

AS Roma are second on 49 points after losing 1-0 to fourth-placed Empoli (35 points) on Saturday.

In Sunday's other matches, two goals from striker Goran Pandev gave Lazio a 2-0 win over Torino that lifted the Rome-based team to fifth on 34 points, despite the three-point penalty they received in the match-fixing scandal.

There was disappointment, however, for Parma's new coach Claudio Ranieri, whose bid to save the club from relegation began with a 1-0 defeat to Sampdoria.

Chievo made a nervy start at Palermo's Barbera stadium. A dreadful attempted clearance by midfielder Paolo Sammarco in the 23rd minute rolled backwards towards his own goal, presenting David Di Michele with a simple finish to put Palermo ahead.

Gradually, however, the visitors worked their way into the game. Nigerian striker Victor Obinna equalised on the stroke of halftime, taking advantage of a defensive mix-up to curl the ball into the bottom corner.

Di Michele almost restored Palermo's lead early in the second half, jinking between two defenders to go through alone on goal, but keeper Lorenzo Squizzi reacted well to block his shot.

At the other end, Alberto Fontana tipped an Erjon Bogdani header round his post at full stretch.

The match between Lazio and Torino at Rome's Olympic Stadium was a more one-sided contest.

Pandev put the home side ahead in the 11th minute, coolly chipping Torino keeper Christian Abbiati after being put through by strike partner Tommaso Rocchi.

The Macedonian international struck again on the hour, when he angled in a low shot from the edge of the box to condemn Torino to their fifth defeat in a row.

In yesterday's games, Ronaldo scored two goals and set up another as AC Milan beat Siena 4-3 to climb to fifth in Serie A on Saturday.

Milan only claimed the points in the final minute of stoppage time when Massimo Ambrosini headed in from a corner but the dominant figure was three-times FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldo, making his first appearance in Milan's starting line-up since signing from Real Madrid last month.

Milan have 33 points after 23 matches, taking into account their eight-point penalty for match-fixing, and are 30 points behind leaders Inter Milan, who racked up their 16th successive Serie A win by beating Cagliari 1-0.

Second-placed AS Roma slipped 14 points behind Inter after losing 1-0 at Empoli.

Ronaldo inspired Milan to a dramatic victory after Siena had pulled themselves level each time they fell behind only to succumb to Ambrosini's header in the final seconds.

The Brazilian opened the scoring in the 15th minute, out-jumping his marker to nod a Paolo Maldini cross past keeper Alex Manninger.

'It was a fantastic day, but we can't afford to concede so many goals,' the Brazilian said.

'I gave everything I had. I was cramping up all over the place, but I managed to finish the game.

'I missed a good chance to score in the first half. In general I don't make those kinds of mistakes, but I'm really happy for the win.'

Midfielder Simone Vergassola equalised four minutes later but Ronaldo conjured up a defence-splitting pass for strike partner Ricardo Oliveira to restore Milan's lead just before the half hour.

Siena levelled again, January signing Massimo Maccarone pulling down a cross before angling a shot past goalkeeper Marco Storari.

Milan's chances of winning the match suffered a setback in the 77th minute, when midfielder Cristian Brocchi was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Francesco Cozza.

But three minutes later Ronaldo struck again, tapping in from close range after a superb solo run and cutback by playmaker Kaka.

Maccarone seemed to have grabbed a point for Siena when he was left unmarked at the far post to fire in his second goal two minutes from the end.

Milan made it six victories in their last seven Serie A matches, however, thanks to Ambrosini's last-gasp winner.

Inter's victory at the San Siro stadium was a more prosaic affair. Defender Nicolas Burdisso headed the winner from a Zlatan Ibrahimovic cross in the 11th minute.

The leaders went close again when Dejan Stankovic thumped a shot off the crossbar 10 minutes from the end.

Roma's performance in their defeat to fourth-placed Empoli (35 points) will have failed to impress Olympique Lyon coach Gerard Houllier, watching from the stands at Empoli's Castellani stadium.

Roma host Lyon in the Champions League on Wednesday.

The game was settled by a fifth-minute goal from Empoli striker Nicola Pozzi. Roma's David Pizarro and Simone Perrotta hit the post in the first half.

Alessandro Del Piero scored a hat-trick as Juventus routed Crotone 5-0 to go three points clear at the top of Italy's Serie B on Saturday.

The win gave Juventus 43 points after 23 matches, taking into account a nine-point penalty imposed as punishment for its part in a match-fixing scandal.

They are three points ahead of Mantova, who beat Lecce 4-0. Napoli, also on 40 points, will draw level with Juve if they beat Arezzo on Sunday.

Juventus took control of the match with early goals by Pavel Nedved and Federico Balzaretti.

Italy international Del Piero grabbed his first goal on the stroke of halftime, jinking round a defender on the edge of the area before firing in a low left-footed shot.

He got another at the end of a solo run midway through the second half and completed his hat-trick in the 79th minute, after being put through by strike partner David Trezeguet.