Europe disappearing as Inter stumble again

18 March 2012 04:46

Inter Milan on Sunday failed to win for the eighth time in nine league games, as their hopes of playing in Europe next season took another hit following their 0-0 draw at home to Atalanta.

It was also the sixth time in those nine games they had failed to score and a fifth home league game in a row without a win.

With just 10 games left this season they are five points behind the European qualification positions and seven off a Champions League finish.

Inter only had themselves to blame after Diego Milito missed a first half penalty.

Gianpaolo Bellini was harshly adjudged to have brought down Giampaolo Pazzini in the box but Andrea Consigli plunged low to his left to keep out Milito's weak 24th-minute spot-kick.

That was as close as Inter got to scoring in an uninspiring game in which their problems in front of goal were all too plain to see.

The only saving grace for the nerazzurri was Lazio's 1-0 defeat at Catania that keeps Champions League football a distant possibility for Claudio Ranieri's men.

Lazio had much the better of their clash in Sicily but succumbed to Nicola Legrottaglie's goal from a corner 10 minutes from time.

The Romans had created good chances for Stefano Mauri and Miroslav Klose but couldn't find the finish they needed, losing for the second game in a row.

Lazio stay third ahead of Napoli's trip to Udinese later on Sunday.

But Catania moved level on points with Inter and Roma and are now securely in the battle for a European finish.

At the bottom, Novara earned their second win in a row with a 2-0 victory at Siena.

Novara are still eight points from safety but goals from Marco Rigoni and Filippo Porcari have at least given them hope.

Cesena remain bottom and 14 points from safety after they were thumped 3-0 at Cagliari thanks to a Mauricio Pinilla hat-trick, including two dubious penalties.

On Saturday AC Milan maintained their four-point lead over Juventus at the top of the table with a 2-0 win at Parma.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring from the penalty spot following a handball by Cristian Zaccardo.

Urby Emanuelson then secured the victory with a brilliant solo effort, running from inside his own half, beating two players and rounding goalkeeper Antonio Mirante before slotting home.

Parma hit the bar twice but Milan were comfortable throughout.

Juventus kept pace with a 5-0 win at 10-man Fiorentina, who had Alessio Cerci sent off in the first half for a petulant kick.

Mirko Vucinic had already given the visitors the lead and Arturo Vidal doubled the advantage after the break.

Claudio Marchisio and Andre Pirlo added further goals before Simone Padoin rounded off the scoring.

Source: AFP