Inter romp past Torino to stretch lead
ROME, Dec 9 (Reuters) - Inter Milan crushed Torino 4-0 at home on Sunday to stretch their lead at the top of Serie A to five points.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic set the champions on their way in the 38th minute with a penalty, while Julio Cruz, Luis Jimenez and Ivan Cordoba completed the rout in the second half.
The champions have 37 points from 15 games, while second-placed AS Roma have 32 after being held 1-1 at Livorno.
Third-placed Juventus have 29 points after they beat Atalanta 1-0 at home with a splendid Pavel Nedved shot from outside the box in the 86th.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini said his side, who are unbeaten in the league, were not running away with the title.
'There is still a long way to go,' he said. 'We have to stay concentrated and be careful. Roma are a great team and Juve have the advantage of not being involved in European competition.'
At the San Siro the visitors had the best chances before Ibrahimovic's spot kick, conceded when Gianluca Comotto brought down the Sweden forward in the area.
Alessandro Rosina produced a good response from Inter keeper Julio Cesar with a long-distance effort in the 12th, Nicola Ventola slipped when alone in front of goal in the 26th and Comotto came close with a cross-cum-shot in the 35th.
Argentina striker Cruz headed in a precise pass from Cristian Chivu to double the lead in the 50th.
Chilean midfielder Jimenez drove in from outside the box two minutes later and Cordoba headed in the fourth in the 76th.
After some brief appearances as a substitute, defender Marco Materazzi made his first start for Inter since recovering from a thigh problem that sidelined him for nearly three months.
'We did not make a great start on Sunday,' Mancini said. 'Torino controlled the game well. We were a little tired and predictable but then things improved.'
Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi headed Roma ahead at Livorno in the fifth minute but Spanish forward Diego Tristan danced down the right to fire in the equaliser almost immediately.
Roma's Brazilian defender Juan headed on to the crossbar in the 61st and De Rossi thought he had scored with another header in the 78th but the referee blew for a foul that was hard to spot on television replays.
Udinese consolidated fourth place on 28 points with a 3-2 win over Sampdoria thanks to an Antonio Di Natale strike and two goals from former Samp forward Fabio Quagliarella.
Empoli moved off the bottom of the table after a 4-1 home win over Cagliari, with all their goals coming from Nicola Pozzi.
Mario Frick's brace steered Siena to their first away win of the season at Siena.
The forward blasted in a long ball from Daniele Galloppa in the 11th minute and tucked away the rebound of a Massimo Maccarone shot in the 24th.
Defender Simone Loria had tapped in for Siena four minutes before Frick's second.
Argentina forward Luciano Figueroa pulled one back at the death for Genoa, who have not won for eight games.
Parma's Kenyan midfielder McDonald Mariga gave home side Napoli a scare in the second minute with a header that went close, but the visitors lost 1-0.
Striker Marcelo Zalayeta scissor-kicked Napoli in front in the 18th minute after his Uruguayan compatriot Mariano Bogliacino found him in the area with a perfectly weighted chip.
Brazilian striker Reginaldo missed a good opportunity to equalize just before halftime when he sliced an Andrea Pisanu cross wide.
Parma's Giulio Falcone cleared an Ezequiel Lavezzi shot with keeper Luca Bucci stranded off his line and Bogliacino missed from short range when the ball fell to him in the same move in the 66th.
AC Milan's game at Reggina was postponed because the European champions are in Japan for the Club World Cup.