Serie A: Eto'o silences racists, Juve thrash Lecce
Inter Milan returned to the top of Serie A for the first time since winning the title last May with a 1-0 victory over Cagliari, but only after the referee threatened to halt the game following racist chanting against Samuel Eto'o.
The abuse did not have any effect on the Cameroon striker, though, and he scored the only goal of the game in the 39th minute to take the Nerazzurri level with AC Milan at the top of the table.
The game had only just got under way when referee Paolo Tagliavento halted play. He had heard racist chants from the crowd aimed at Eto'o and requested an announcement was made over the public address system threatening the suspension of the game.
The calls had clearly not got to the Cameroon international, or perhaps they had inspired him to score the decisive goal with a touch of class. He controlled the ball and turned inside onto his left foot before shooting past Michael Agazzi from 20 yards.
After the match Cagliari president Massimo Cellini said he thought Tagliavento was wrong to stop the game, claiming he had misunderstood the reaction of the fans. "It was certainly an error of judgment,'' Cellini told Rai television. "Racist incidents do not happen here in Cagliari. I can exclude that categorically. Our fans are not like that.''
Lazio returned to the top of Serie A in Sunday's later game after scrambling a 2-0 win over Bari at the Stadio San Nicola.
Anderson Hernanes broke the deadlock after a dull first half and Sergio Floccari added a second after an hour to earn the Biancoceleste all three points in a dreary encounter.
Juventus thrashed Lecce 4-0 to move up to fifth in Serie A. After Alberto Aquilani's early opener, Felipe Melo got the second from the penalty spot and Fabio Quagliarella had them 3-0 up before half-time. Alessandro Del Piero then capped a fine afternoon for the hosts as he came off the bench to get the fourth eight minutes from time.
Napoli striker Edison Cavani was on the scoresheet again but he could not lift his side to victory as Catania came back to draw 1-1 at Stadio Angelo Massimino.
The former Palermo striker grabbed his sixth goal in seven league games six minutes before the break but saw his effort cancelled out by Alejandro Gomez midway through the second half as Catania sealed a deserved share of the spoils.
The dropped points saw Napoli, who finished the game with 10 men thanks to Paolo Cannavaro's late red card, slip a place to fourth in the table.
Palermo emphatically ended their winless run of results at La Favorita with a crushing victory against Bologna. The Sicilian outfit were without a win at home in Serie A since April 24 heading into this match but turned the formbook on its head against a Bologna side defending a four-match unbeaten run.
Goals from Javier Pastore and Josip Ilicic had the hosts cruising at the interval before Mauricio Ferreira Pinilla added a third two minutes after the restart. Marco Di Vaio pulled one back for the visitors after 66 minutes but Armin Bacinovic restored Palermo's three-goal cushion inside the final 10 minutes.
Sampdoria came from behind to win their first Serie A game in seven weeks against Fiorentina. Marco Marchionni gave the visitors the lead in the sixth minute before Fiorentina goalkeeper Sebastian Frey preserved the advantage with a string of fine saves to frustrate the home team. Reto Ziegler eventually forced an equaliser before Antonio Cassano scored the winner to earn Samp their first victory since August 29.
Cesena and Parma shared the spoils in a battle of struggling Serie A sides. Erjon Bogdani opened the scoring for the hosts in the 17th minute and Cristian Zaccardo equalised before the half-hour mark for Parma, who were looking for their first win on the road this season.
Bernardo Corradi came on as a second-half substitute and scored the only goal of the game as Udinese beat Brescia to climb off the bottom of the table. Corradi scored in the 80th minute with a flying header from Giovanni Pasquale's cross, beating Brescia goalkeeper Matteo Sereni. The victory at the Mario Rigamonti stadium was Udinese's first on the road this season and lifted the Friuli outfit into 18th place.