‘Muntari and Sneijder send Inter top’

Inter Milan moved back to the top of Serie A with a win over Catania at the San Siro tonight. Sulley Muntari gave Jose Mourinho’s side the lead in the 13th minute and Wesley Sneijder added a second just after half an hour. A penalty from Giuseppe Mascara made it a nervy ending for the Nerazzurri, who held on to move back above Sampdoria and return to the top of the table. Samuel Eto’o was included in the Inter starting XI despite not being 100% fit, but Mourinho gave a rest to Dejan Stankovic. Javier Zanetti does not know what a rest is, however, as he continued his extraordinary record of appearing in every single game for the last three years, making this the Inter captain’s 139th consecutive game. Having seen Sampdoria move above them with a 4-1 win over Bologna earlier today, Inter were keen to take back top spot in Serie A with a win. They were ahead after 13 minutes when Muntari’s long ball into the penalty area for Eto’o defied everybody, including Catania goalkeeper Andrea Campagnolo, on its way into the back of the net. Ezequiel Carboni tried to equalise in the 20th minute, but Julio Cesar was equal to his effort, pushing the shot wide of the post. Patrick Vieira, who was on target in last weekend’s 5-0 win over Genoa, thought he had done it again in the 28th minute after chesting the ball down well inside the penalty area, but his shot from 10 yards struck the crossbar.

Inter’s second goal came just three minutes later, though, when Sneijder showed his prowess from a set-piece situation. Eto’o was fouled by Marco Biagianti outside the penalty area and the Dutchman stepped up to lift the ball over the wall and into the side of the goal Campagnolo was not guarding. Inter were in clear control of the game and they could have gone into the break with a greater lead had the referee given a penalty for an apparent foul by Mathias Silvestre on Mario Balotelli in the 43rd minute. Inter’s lead rarely looked in any danger until Julio Cesar gave away a penalty seven minutes from time. He failed to hold onto a shot by Pablo Ledesma and Gianvito Plasmati pounced onto the rebound, nudging the ball past the Inter goalkeeper, who blocked his way to the goal and offered no complaint for the awarding of the penalty. Mascara stepped up to give the Sicilians hope by converting the spot-kick. Eto’o came within inches of restoring Inter’s two-goal lead in the 87th minute with a direct free-kick from 25 yards which had Campagnolo beaten. But Inter did not need another goal to seal their seventh win of the season and move back to the top of Serie A.



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