Serie A: Roma tops Lazio in derby; Inter moves clear at the top
MILAN (AP) — Inter Milan moved provisionally clear at the top of the Serie A table with a 1-0 win at Torino on Sunday, while Roma kept up the pressure with a 2-0 victory over Lazio in the capital derby.
Napoli remained two points behind Inter after Gonzalo Higuain scored his ninth league goal of the season to help it beat Udinese 1-0.
Geoffrey Kondogbia scored his first Serie A goal to leave Inter one point clear of Roma and three ahead of Fiorentina, which visits Sampdoria later. Key saves by Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic were also decisive in preserving his side's lead.
"These are three fundamental points because we get to the international break at the top," Handanovic said. "At the end we were clinical and we got what we deserved. ... We have to be humble, things might not go well all the time. Only a third of the season has gone, it would be pointless to think of the title now."
There was a controversial penalty for Roma's opener, while both teams hit the woodwork in an entertaining match. But unusually few spectators watched the match amid a boycott to protest new security measures.
"The penalty was a question of millimeters: if the contact was with the foot and outside, if it was with knee and on the line that's part of the area," Roma coach Rudi Garcia said. "But, apart from that incident, I don't think you can argue about our win. We deserved it and I'm happy for everyone."
Elsewhere, Juventus came back from a goal down to win 3-1 at Empoli and move above Lazio on goal difference, with the capital side having lost four of its past five matches.
"It's the third successive defeat, it's clear that the derby was a very important game," Lazio coach Stefano Pioli said. "The match was decided by two incidents: above all the penalty and then our naivety for the second goal. The foul was outside the area, incidents like this in these games are decisive, it wasn't a penalty."
High-flying Sassuolo beat relegation-threatened Carpi 1-0, while Genoa rescued a 2-2 draw at fellow struggler Frosinone despite playing more than 50 minutes with 10 men after Sebastian De Maio was sent off for two bookings. Palermo beat Chievo Verona 1-0.
Inter was top of the table and hadn't lost at Torino in 21 years but was almost behind 30 minutes in when Marco Benassi's strike from distance crashed off the crossbar.
The visitors took the lead moments later when Rodrigo Palacio nodded on Yuto Nagatomo's free kick for Kondogbia to volley in at the back post.
Inter, which had two shots on target all match, held out for a third successive 1-0 victory. The last time Inter won by more than one goal was April 11 — a 3-0 win at Hellas Verona.
In a rare show of unity in the Italian capital, hard-core fans of Roma and Lazio boycotted the match in protest at security measures that have split the Stadio Olimpico "curve" — the ends of the stadium where "ultra" fans sit.
Roma got off to the perfect — albeit controversial — start as Santiago Gentiletti tripped Edin Dzeko for a penalty, but television replays showed the contact was just outside the area. The Bosnia and Herzegovina captain fired the spot kick down the middle to give Roma a 10th-minute lead.
Felipe Anderson almost scored a spectacular equalizer in the 26th but he hit the bar from 25 meters (yards). Radja Nainggolan also hit the post shortly before halftime for Roma.
Rudi Garcia's side did double its advantage just after the hour when Gervinho latched onto Nainggolan's ball over the top and raced forward before slotting into the near post.
Juventus, which needed a last-gasp goal to win last week's derby, was still struggling to find form and found itself behind in the 19th minute when Massimo Maccarone drove into the bottom left corner against the run of play.
However, it turned the match around shortly after with two goals in six minutes from Mario Mandzukic and Patrice Evra.
Substitute Paulo Dybala sealed the match six minutes from time although Stephan Lichtsteiner was offside when he ran on to the ball. His effort was parried and Mandzukic hit the follow up onto the left post before Dybala slotted in the rebound.