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Inter toil in Florence as UCL hopes fade
Inter Milan's Champions League qualification hopes slipped further away following a 0-0 draw at Fiorentina on Sunday.
Sixth-placed Inter closed the gap on third-placed Lazio to five points but having played a game more.
And it could have been worse as Fiorentina missed a penalty in a lacklustre affair.
The only real plus for Inter was that coach Andrea Stramaccioni maintained his unbeaten start on the bench.
It certainly wasn't a great advert for Italian football in a tight match that never really came alive.
Houssine Kharja had an early opportunity for the hosts but shot just wide while Diego Forlan's left footed effort at the other end was saved by Artur Boruc.
Alessio Cerchi for Fiorentina and Mauro Zarate for Inter were both guilty of squandering good opportunities when shooting from a tight angle instead of slipping in a better placed team-mate.
But that was all that happened of note in a dire first 45 minutes.
The game perked up halfway through the second period when Kharja's reverse pass put Andrea Lazzari in behind the Inter backline.
Julio Cesar came out and was adjudged to have brought down the Fiorentina midfielder and was booked for his troubles.
However the Brazilian made amends by plunging low to his right to tip Adem Ljajic's spot-kick around the post.
La Viola came close again as Matija Nastasic was left alone at the back post at a corner but his volley sailed over.
Boruc saved a low shot from Zarate and Japan full-back Yuto Nagatomo squeezed another just past the upright as Inter belatedly started to push.
Diego hit a half-volley with power after a smart turn but Boruc was well placed to block.
On Saturday Napoli kept alive their Champions League qualification hopes and ended a run of three straight defeats with a 2-0 win over Novara, who remain second bottom.
Edinson Cavani and Paolo Cannavaro scored the goals that moved the southerners up to fifth and three points off Lazio.
Udinese's troubles continued as they drew 0-0 at Chievo to remain fourth and two points behind Lazio.
However, they now have just one win in the last eight.
Eighth-placed Catania kept up their pursuit of a Europa League finish with a 2-0 win over Atalanta while Parma surpassed the theoretical survival ceiling of 40 points with a 3-0 win over Cagliari.
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