Serie A: Inter down La Viola to restore lead at top
MILAN, April 13 (Reuters) - Inter Milan reasserted their four-point lead in Serie A after second-half goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Mario Balotelli sealed a 2-0 home win over Fiorentina on Sunday.
AS Roma had cut the gap to a point earlier when they won 3-1 at Udinese, but Inter's victory means Luciano Spalletti's side have just five games to try to reel in the defending champions.
Asked if Inter had won the scudetto, Cambiasso told Sky: 'No, no. There are still games to go and we have great respect for our opponents.'
Inter dominated the first half but Fiorentina keeper Sebastien Frey, carrying a leg injury, was in inspired form and and kept out powerful efforts from Patrick Vieira, Javier Zanetti and Julio Cruz.
Inter coach Roberto Mancini was stuck in a broken lift for 40 minutes during the week and he must have felt similarly under pressure at halftime.
His side quickly settled any nerves though, with Argentina midfielder Cambiasso sidefooting home on 55 minutes after Vieira pulled the ball back from the byline while lying on the ground.
Inter's 17-year-old forward Balotelli, up front in place of the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was preferred to Hernan Crespo and scored a carbon copy of his first league goal in the win over Atalanta last weekend.
He calmly rounded Frey midway through the second period to wrap up Inter's 22nd win of the league campaign.
Fiorentina, who reached the UEFA Cup semi-finals on Thursday, stay four points ahead of fifth-placed AC Milan in the battle for the final Champions League qualifying spot.
Juventus, 10 points behind Roma in third, took a big stride towards securing their place in Europe's premier competition by beating European champions Milan 3-2 at home on Saturday.
Roma, who welcomed back Francesco Totti from injury, had to come from behind to beat UEFA Cup hopefuls Udinese.
The hosts took the lead early in the second half when Italy forward Antonio Di Natale nodded in at the far post with Roma keeper Doni and team mate Christian Panucci almost coming to blows in their attempt to apportion blame.
Spalletti's side soon fought back against his former club with Mirko Vucinic finishing neatly from David Pizarro's pass.
Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Taddei put Roma ahead on 70 minutes when his shot bounced in off the bar and post and substitute Ludovic Giuly added the gloss late on.
At the bottom, Cagliari boosted their hopes of survival in a tight relegation battle thanks to Robert Acquafresca's double in a 2-1 win at bottom side Livorno.
Fellow strugglers Reggina beat Sampdoria 1-0 and Empoli drew 1-1 with Parma, who have a game in hand at Juve on Wednesday.