Sérgio Conceição was among the goalscorers as Internazionale FC beat Udinese Calcio 3-2 to move to the top of Serie A on Sunday, while Juventus FC were grateful for a point from an exciting 2-2 Turin derby draw with Torino Calcio.
Goals from Christian Vieri and Nicola Ventola had given Inter the lead before Roberto Muzzi's reply for the visitors was cancelled out by Conceição's strike. But Udinese midfield player Giampiero Pinzi's late goal ensured a tense finish in the San Siro, and left Inter coach Héctor Cúper unhappy. "We have not played well - we always struggle against Udinese," he said.
Just as in their first meeting of the season, which ended 3-3, Torino showed no fear in confronting their illustrious neighbours. But whereas in October Torino came back from three goals down for a draw, this time they will be disappointed to have only taken a point from another pulsating encounter.
Juventus took the lead in the tenth minute with the prolific David Trezeguet heading home a fine left-wing cross from Edgar Davids. Marco Ferrante put Torino on level terms in the 65th minute with an angled drive from the right and Benoît Cauet looked to have given Torino a famous win with his first goal for the club in the 80th minute. With just a minute of normal time remaining, however, substitute Enzo Maresca rose superbly on the edge of the area to head home a Lilian Thuram cross. Inter and second-placed AS Roma, who beat AC Perugia 1-0 on Saturday, both have 49 points with third-placed Juventus a point behind.
Bologna leave it late
Elsewhere, Bologna FC beat Hellas-Verona FC 2-1 thanks to Julio Ricardo Cruz's 88th-minute winner. Verona's Alberto Gilardino had opened the scoring 20 minutes from time only for Salvatore Fresi to bring Bologna level four minutes later.
The win allowed Bologna to leapfrog AC Chievo Verona into fourth place after they could only muster a 1-1 draw at home to Brescia Calcio. Nicola Legrottaglie's dismissal proved pivotal as Brescia, who fell behind to a Bernardo Corradi strike just before half-time, recovered to earn a point through Luca Toni.
European ambitions alive
Milan AC boosted their hopes of European qualification with a 4-1 away win at AC Venezia, the bottom club. Kakha Kaladze gave the visitors the lead after just 12 minutes only for Venezia to hit back through Filippo Maniero four minutes later. But Milan stepped up a gear after the break, Javier Moreno scoring twice either side of a Cosmin Contra strike.
Fiorentina in trouble
At the other end of the table, AC Fiorentina were beaten 2-1 at home by fellow strugglers US Lecce, leaving them ten points from safety. Fiorentina captain Angelo di Livio put the home team ahead with three minutes of the first-half remaining but Croatia striker Davor Vugrinec volleyed Lecce back into the game in added time from Javier Chevanton's free-kick. Chevanton found the net himself to wrap up the game late on.
Poborsky on song
Elsewhere, Karel Poborsky scored the only goal as S.S. Lazio won at Atalanta BC while Parma AC hung on to record their fourth win in five matches, 3-2 at Piacenza FC. Parma appeared to be cruising to maximum points after Marco di Vaio, Johan Micoud and Alain Boghossian fired them into a three-goal lead, but two goals from Dario Hubner in the last eleven minutes ensured a nervous finale.
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