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Udinese top Serie A even as Inter beat Chievo

Udinese top Serie A even as Inter beat Chievo

Inter Milan got their season back on track, grinding out a 1-0 victory against Chievo.

Milan: Inter Milan got their Serie A season back on track on Sunday, grinding out a 1-0 victory at home to Chievo. Thiago Motta headed home Wesley Sneijder's corner mid-way through the first half to hand Inter only their second win in seven league games.

Claudio Ranieri's men were eager to win after successive losses against Napoli and Catania, but the result on the night was never really in doubt as Inter shifted from gear to gear over the course of the first half.

A plethora of half-chances finally culminated in a goal in the 34th minute when Motta headed in a superb delivery from Sniejder on a corner. Goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino was left hopeless as the Brazilian-born Italian towered over Michael Bradley to get his header on target.

The only negatives for Inter were their bookings, as the goalscorer received the first yellow of the match when he took down Sergio Pellissier on a Chievo counter mid-way through the half, and Maicon joined him shortly before half-time. Bojan Jokic was also booked for a poor challenge on Javier Zanetti in the midfield as Chievo tried to contain the home side as they gained ascendancy.

The away side had a few chances of their own as they attacked whenever possible, exemplified by Perparim Hetemaj's low strike that Julio Cesar collected with ease, but the first half was mostly one-way traffic.

The away side did their best to fight back and looked equal to the home team during the scrappy opening of the second half. But Inter regained their composure and looked menacing on nearly every attack.

Both teams had solid chances to score as the match drew to a close, but Inter held on for the win.

Meanwhile, substitute Kevin-Prince Boateng scored a hat-trick as a stunning second-half comeback for AC Milan saw the Serie A champions recover from three goals down to beat Lecce 4-3.

Giullermo Giacomazzi headed Lecce in front in the fourth minute, while Massimo Oddo converted a penalty kick and Carlos Grossmuller added a third before half-time.

But Boateng came off the bench for Robinho and grabbed one back for Milan four minutes into the second half.

The Ghana international completed his hat-trick within 14 minutes and Mario Yepes grabbed the winner with seven minutes left.

"I would say that our approach to the game was awful," Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said. "Lecce had a great first half, we were far off, we didn't manage to play and let in two goals from dead ball situations.

"But we had a great reaction and in the end had a great game. At the end we won a game that I didn't think we could turn around at the end of the first half."

The victory lifted Milan into the top half of the Italian league, while Lecce remain second from bottom.

"It's really hard to talk about a game in which in the first half you're ahead 3-0 and then, at the final whistle, you lose 4-3," Lecce coach Eusebio Di Francesco said. "After having played so well the first 45 minutes I didn't expect to lose this game."

"It was a Lecce of two faces and it's bewildering for me to have seen that from my team ... After a perfect first half I asked them to keep their focus. Unfortunately they didn't."

Players wore black armbands and observed a minute's silence at the start of every game as a tribute to Italian rider Marco Simoncelli, who died on Sunday after a crash at the Malaysian MotoGP motorcycle race.

Udinese took sole leadership of the standings after cruising to a 3-0 win over Novara, thanks to two goals and an assist from Antonio Di Natale.

Di Natale broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute and Maurizio Domizzi doubled Udinese's tally six minutes later when he headed in a corner at the near post.

Di Natale grabbed his sixth of the season four minutes into the second half with a stunning free kick that Novara goalkeeper Alberto Maria Fontana could do nothing about.

Udinese moved a point clear at the top of the table, and are now two points better off than third-placed Juventus, who drew 2-2 at home with Genoa on Saturday.

"I'm very happy with the result and our position in the table," Udinese coach Francesco Guidolin said. "We had a good game today and deserved to win ... being top is great. We can do well if we continue as we are, with the same humility and generosity."

Lazio are in second, following their 2-0 victory at struggling Bologna.

The visiting side took the lead in the 23rd minute when the unfortunate Robert Acquafresca tried to clear Hernanes' free-kick, but the Bologna striker only succeeded in diverting the ball into his own net.

Bologna had several chances to draw level but could find no way past Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti.

Lazio doubled their advantage three minutes into the second half as Djibril Cisse sent Senad Lulic clear and the Bosnian made no mistake when one-on-one with Bologna goalkeeper Federico Agliardi.

Cagliari are three points off top spot following their goalless draw with Napoli.

Either team could have won the game in a lively first half, which saw both sides hit the woodwork twice.

Roma also secured a narrow 1-0 win and theirs victory over Palermo moved them into the top half of the table.

Erik Manuel Lamela scored the only goal of the game in the seventh minute and Roma clung on desperately to take all three points.

Roma goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg pulled off several stunning saves, notably from Fabrizio Miccoli in stoppage time, to secure the victory.

Cesena remained rooted to the bottom of the standings after losing 2-0 at Siena.

Pablo Gonzalez scored in the 10th minute and, after Cesena midfielder Antonio Candreva hit the post, Emanuele Calaio doubled Siena's advantage eight minutes into the second half.

Elsewhere, a brace from Maxi Moralez secured Atalanta a 2-1 win at Parma.

All the goals came in the second half, with substitute Jaime Valdes' strike 10 minutes from time proving no more than a consolation for Parma.