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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Nov 4, 2007

Serie A: Roma blow two-goal lead at Empoli

ROME, Nov 4 (Reuters) - AS Roma blew a two-goal lead and the chance to join Inter Milan at the top of Serie A when they were held to a 2-2 draw at struggling Empoli on Sunday.

Sebastian Giovinco, with a splendid stoppage-time free kick, earned Empoli a draw that lifted the Tuscans out of the relegation zone.

Ighli Vannucchi pulled one back for Empoli with a long-distance strike in the 67th after Ludovic Giuly and Matteo Brighi had put the visitors in command in the first half.

French midfielder Giuly opened the score in the 13th minute with a precise shot into the far corner after some neat passing at the edge of the box.

Brighi headed in a cross from Brazilian winger Mancini to double the lead in 32nd.

Italy midfielder Mauro Camoranesi came off the bench in the second half to earn Juventus a 1-1 draw with leaders Inter Milan in Turin.

Camoranesi, on for captain Alessandro Del Piero, found the net from the centre of the penalty area in the 77th minute after Vincenzo Iaquinta's header.

Inter took the lead in the 41st minute through Argentine striker Julio Cruz, who controlled midfielder Cesar's defence-splitting pass with his chest and slotted the ball past Italy keeper Gianluigi Buffon.

Anticipation among fans was high for the first meeting between the bitter rivals since Juve were demoted for match-fixing two seasons ago and stripped of the 2005/06 title, which was awarded to Inter.

Del Piero had a penalty appeal turned down in the fifth minute, when Iván Córdoba appeared to hold him in the area, and he forced a save out of Julio César in the 25th with a powerful free kick.

Former Juve striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic had the chance to double the lead three minutes after Cruz's opener, but the Swede's control let him down when he was clean through on goal.

After the break Ibrahimovic blasted a shot at Buffon from a good position, while Inter keeper Julio César did well to keep out a scuffed effort from David Trezeguet at the other end.

Juve hurled themselves forward, frequently leaving themselves exposed to Inter's counter attacks, and were rewarded with Camoranesi's deserved equalizer.

'When you don't take your chances you end up drawing and sometimes you risk losing,' Inter coach Roberto Mancini told Sky television.

'I'm sorry we didn't wrap up the match because we were deserving the win. It'll be a lesson for us for the future.'

Juve boss Claudio Ranieri said: 'It was a bit of an uphill battle, but we played with spirit.'

'Inter are better than us and so are some other teams, but we want to compete for the title. We have pride. We want to keep going as we are.'

Sampdoria came back from Wednesday's 5-0 home defeat to AC Milan by crushing Cagliari 3-0 in Sardinia.

Sergio Volpi gave Samp the lead in the 33rd minute with a thunderous, right-footed shot from outside the area.

Andrea Caracciolo fired home the rebound of his own effort six minutes later and Christian Maggio headed in a Claudio Bellucci free kick to seal the win just before half time.

Samp's Mirko Pieri was sent off in the 68th for a nasty foul on Pasquale Foggia.

Atalanta claimed the points against Catania thanks to two Antonio Langella goals scored in the space of two minutes in the second half.

Catania reduced the deficit eight minutes from time thanks to Gionatha Spinesi's right-footed shot from the edge of the area.

Atalanta's Cristiano Doni missed a spot-kick, conceded for a foul on Sergio Floccari, in the 24th minute.

Palermo went ahead in the eighth minute when Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani tucked away a low Fabio Simplicio pass from the baseline.

Julio Leon rifled in a free kick to equalise in the 59th and then put the home side in front seven minutes later, only for Palermo's Franco Brienza to even things up again with a header in the 76th.

Genoa thought they had won when Marco Borriello fired home in the 82nd but Brazilian striker Amauri headed in a Simplicio free kick to snatch a draw in stoppage time.

A second-half effort by Livorno striker Alessandro Diamanti that produced a great save from Udinese keeper Samir Handanovic was the highlight of an uneventful draw.

The arrival of new coach Renzo Ulivieri, who replaced the sacked Massimo Ficcadenti on Thursday, was not enough to spur basement club Reggina to their first win of the season against Napoli.

Napoli's Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi scrambled home a late goal to cancel out Luca Vigiani's 54th-minute header. Napoli's Emanuele Calaio missed a penalty in the 76th after Salvatore Aronica brought down Lavezzi.

Parma striker Bernardo Corradi, on loan from Manchester City, broke free of his markers to slip home a Reginaldo cross in the 23rd minute against Siena.

Paolo De Ceglie levelled matters 10 minutes later with a fine, diagonal, left-footed effort.

Parma regained the lead in the second half with Davide Matteini but Daniele Galloppa earned Siena a draw with a fine strike that took a deflection on its way to the net in the closing stages.

Yesterday, Fiorentina moved up to second in Serie A with a 1-0 win at struggling Lazio.

Giampaolo Pazzini pounced to score after a blunder by Lazio's 43-year-old keeper Marco Ballotta, who let go of the ball as he tried to stop a back header going out for a corner in the 19th minute.

Pazzini almost made it 2-0 in the 74th when he shot against the crossbar.

Fiorentina's French keeper Sebastien Frey then did well to keep out an angled Massimo Mutarelli effort eight minutes from time.

Mutarelli was sent off in stoppage time after picking up a second yellow card.

Lazio, who entertain Werder Bremen in the Champions League on Tuesday, are two points above the relegation zone after suffering their third consecutive league defeat.

Elsewhere, Torino held AC Milan to a goalless draw in Serie A as the European champions misfired again in front of their home crowd.

Milan, who are seventh with 14 points from 11 games, have not won a league game at the San Siro since April.

Alberto Gilardino, who scored twice in Wednesday's 5-0 rout of Sampdoria, wasted two excellent chances laid on by Clarence Seedorf in the first 20 minutes.

Kaka hit a right-footed shot just wide from outside the area in the 31st and Torino keeper Matteo Sereni saved a powerful Andrea Pirlo effort just before halftime.

Torino's David Di Michele, playing for the first time after serving a three-month ban for illegal betting, gave the home side a scare with an angled effort in the 51st.

Milan had a shout for a penalty denied shortly afterwards when Cesare Natali barged Massimo Ambrosini over in the area.

Another Pirlo shot whistled past the left post in the 63rd minute and Filippo Inzaghi fired into the side netting when clean through on goal in the 78th but the dogged visitors hung on for a draw.

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