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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 2, 2007

Serie A: Inter beat Fiorentina to maintain lead

MILAN, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Champions Inter Milan maintained their three-point advantage at the top of Serie A with a comfortable 2-0 win at fifth-placed Fiorentina on Sunday.

Chilean Luis Jimenez opened the scoring on 10 minutes with an emphatic finish after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's clever pass before the Swede also played in strike partner Julio Cruz to make it two on halftime.

'Fiorentina played a good match in the first half and we took a risk because we didn't close out the game,' Inter's perfectionist coach Roberto Mancini told Sky Television.

AS Roma moved up to second after a 2-1 home win over nine-man Udinese, knocking Juventus down to third after Claudio Ranieri's men drew 0-0 at stuttering AC Milan on Saturday.

Atalanta leapfrogged Napoli into sixth with a 5-1 home mauling of the promoted Naples club while Lazio drew 1-1 at strugglers Siena and bottom side Empoli lost 1-0 at new coach Alberto Malesani's former club Parma.

Catania triumphed 3-1 in the Sicilian derby to hand Francesco Guidolin an unhappy start to his fourth spell in charge of Palermo. Tight security surrounded the match after a policeman was killed outside the same fixture in February.

Fiorentina coach Cesare Prandelli took charge of his team for the first time since his wife died last week and was given a standing ovation when he crossed the pitch before kick off.

Fans threw flowers to the former Roma boss and a minute's silence was impeccably observed but Inter got straight to business after kickoff.

Reserve midfielder Jimenez, who scored in midweek when Inter reached the Champions League knockout stages with a 3-0 win over Fenerbahce, popped up again with a neat goal but Ibrahimovic was instrumental throughout the match.

The in-form striker forced Sebastien Frey into an excellent first-half save and two even better stops in the second period, having set up Cruz just before the break.

Roma took the lead against Udinese on 10 minutes when Brazil defender Juan tapped in after Francesco Giuly's effort had been saved.

Italy forward Fabio Quagliarella equalised straight away for high-flying Udinese but Rodrigo Taddei put Roma ahead on 27.

Udinese had Gianpiero Pinzi and Andrea Dossena dismissed within a minute of each other in the second half but still could have snatched a point when Antonio Floro Flores spurned a clear chance late on.

Inter, on 31 points, and Roma, on 28, have games in hand on Wednesday when they host Lazio and Cagliari respectively. The matches were postponed last month after a Lazio fan was killed by a police bullet at a service station.