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Inter return to winning ways

Published: Sunday 20 November 2005, 23.55CET
Group H: FC Internazionale Milano left it late on Sunday to end a three-game winless streak, while FC Artmedia and FC Porto also triumphed. features

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Published: Sunday 20 November 2005, 23.55CET

Inter return to winning ways

Group H: FC Internazionale Milano left it late on Sunday to end a three-game winless streak, while FC Artmedia and FC Porto also triumphed.

FC Porto were the big winners among the UEFA Champions League Group H contenders, while there were also victories for FC Artmedia and FC Internazionale Milano, who ended a run of three games without a win. However, defeat for Rangers FC in the Glasgow derby heaped more pressure on manager Alex McLeish.

FC Internazionale Milano 2-0 Parma FC

Second-half goals from Luís Figo and substitute Esteban Cambiasso gave Internazionale a 2-0 victory against Parma on Sunday evening to end a three-game winless streak. Parma defended stubbornly in the first half, before the home side increased the pressure after the restart and were rewarded with victory by two goals to stay fourth in Serie A.

Coach Roberto Mancini employed a diamond formation in midfield with Cristiano Zanetti anchoring and David Pizarro and Juan Sebastián Verón playing wide, while Figo supported the front two. "To win was really important today as we went into the match after failing to win our last three league games," said Mancini. "We did not perform well during the first half but we improved a lot after the break and deserved to win."

Kily González remains a long-term absentee while Alvaro Recoba returned from Australia with a minor ankle injury after playing for Uruguay in their FIFA World Cup play-off penalty shoot-out defeat. However, the forward is expected to be available for Wednesday's UEFA Champions League match against Artmedia, as is Siniša Mihajlović (muscular). Zé Maria (knee) also sat out the weekend win.

FC Artmedia 2-1 FC Spartak Trnava

The Slovakian champions narrowed the gap to four points behind current leaders Spartak Trnava with a spirited comeback in Bratislava on Saturday. Goalkepeer Juraj Čobej was ruled out with a shoulder injury, but his deputy L'uboš Kamenár acquitted himself well. Kamenár was beaten just once, when Spartak top-scorer Vladimír Kožuch opened the scoring on ten minutes.

Ján Kozák hit the post seconds later, and both sides had excellent chances but were denied by in-form goalkeepers. Trnava were without experienced defenders Souleymane Fall and Jaroslav Hrabal, and their absence told in the 54th minute when Branislav Obžera equalised after latching on to a Juraj Halenár cross. Lukáš Hartig sealed all three points for Artmedia with nine minutes remaining, finding the net with a spectacular winner after being left unmarked.

Artmedia coach Vladimír Weiss said: "It was the biggest league game of the year from our point of view and in my opinion the best one, the tension mounting until the final whistle. I was always sure we could come back, we showed great team spirit today."

FC Porto 5-1 A. Académica de Coimbra

Lisandro López and Lucho González were both on target twice as Porto enjoyed their most emphatic victory of the season on Saturday to keep pace with Portuguese Liga frontrunners SC Braga. Porto coach Co Adriaanse named an unchanged side from that which edged FC Paços de Ferreira last week and the team were soon into their stride. Argentinian midfield player Lucho broke the deadlock after just ten minutes, slotting in Ricardo Quaresma's left-wing cross.

López doubled the lead with a header midway through the half, and although César Peixoto did not seal the win with a third until 70 minutes, Porto were always in control. López scored his second of the game with a predatory goal six minutes later, before Lucho completed his side’s scoring three minutes into added time, executing a superb lob after a long pass by goalkeeper Vítor Baía. There was still time for Académica to grab a late consolation.

Adriaanse, who was again without long-term striking absentees Bruno Moraes and Tomoslav Šokota, said: "This was the best result of the season, but not the best Porto performance. We started well for the first 30 minutes and then again in the last 20 minutes, but I will only be satisfied when we play well for 90 minutes. However, I have to recognise that we played well tonight, as we scored five goals and this can bring confidence for the Rangers match."

Celtic FC 3-0 Rangers FC

Rangers fell 15 points behind Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic as they lost to their old rivals for the second time in ten days. Manager Alex McLeish rang the changes from the side that lost 2-0 to Celtic in the Scottish League Cup. Ronald Waterreus was preferred to Stefan Klos in goal while Marvin Andrews, Brahim Hemdani and Francis Jeffers all came in to the starting lineup.

The visitors fell behind on 12 minutes after Alan Hutton surrendered possession on the right and John Hartson converted Shaun Maloney’s cross. Hamed Namouchi, captain Barry Ferguson and Dado Pršo all had chances to level for Rangers before the break but lacked composure. Celtic doubled their lead on 56 minutes when Bobo Balde headed in Shunsuke Nakamura's cross, and Aiden McGeady added a third from close range on the hour. Rangers striker Pršo was forced off with a hamstring injury and is out of Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match against Porto.

"I felt we were the better side in the first half," said McLeish. "It's a shame we didn't take one of the chances that came our way but we are going to have to regroup. Dado will be missing during the week which is another blow to us, but we must march on."

Last updated: 22/11/05 9.16CET

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