Inter up to fourth after fifth win under Leonardo

Posted By: Pti

Rome, Jan 20 (AFP) Leonardo recorded his fifth straightwin as Inter Milan boss as the champions beat Cesena 3-2 atthe San Siro to go fourth in Serie A.

Christian Chivu was the unlikely match-winner after goalsfrom Erjon Bogdani and Emanuele Giaccherini had cancelled outSamuel Eto''o and Diego Milito''s early strikes for the hosts.

Cesena finished the game with 10-men after Giaccheriniwas harshly dismissed 15 minutes from the end last night.

Inter are now just six points behind city rivals andleaders AC Milan but with a game in hand.

The hosts dominated from the off with Goran Pandevstinging Cesena goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli''s fingers afterjust five minutes.

Cesena were struggling to live with their illustriousopponents and around the quarter hour mark they capitulatedtwice within a minute.

Eto''o, who was a livewire all evening causing Cesenaendless headaches, opened the scoring with a cross shot from atight angle - his 24th goal in 27 games this season.

The second was immaculately created as Eto''o slippedPandev in behind the backline and the Macedonia forward laidthe ball on a plate for Milito to tap home from six yards.

Inter were enjoying themselves and Maicon tried anaudacious volley from the right touchline that dipped onto theroof of the net. The only down side came on 20 minutes asMilito limped off to be replaced by Jonathan Biabiany.

However, while Inter were bristling going forward, theyalso showed a brittle backbone as Bogdani was left with timeand space to control the ball on his chest, turn and shoothome low into the corner from inside the area.

Incredibly, just before the half hour mark, Cesena werelevel as former Inter midfielder Luis Suarez played the ballover a static and ball-watching defence for Giaccherini to runon to and volley home.

Inter were soon back on the attack, though, and Chivuchipped Antonioli only for Giuseppe Colucci to head the ballclear of the line, although it wasn''t obvious if theleft-back''s curling effort was going in or not.

The Romanian was not to be denied, though, and made alate run into the box to head home Maicon''s cross.

After the first half fireworks, the second period was amuch tamer affar although Eto''o should have bagged a secondfollowing good work from Esteban Cambiasso but contrived tocrash a shot against the bar from eight yards out.

Suarez was then left unharried to run at the Inter boxand lash an effort just past the corner of bar and post.

Maicon burst into the box and played a one-two withPandev but shot weakly at Antonioli. Any chance Cesena had ofmounting another comeback ended, though, when Giaccherinireceived his marching orders for a second soft booking.

He was shown yellow in the first half for a laughabledive in the box but his second card for playing on after thewhistle was harsh. (AFP) AH

Story first published: Thursday, January 20, 2011, 13:15 [IST]
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