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Fluke own-goal sends Inter nine clear

INTER Milan moved within touching distance of retaining its Serie A title after a fluke own-goal from Udinese's Mauricio Isla sealed a 1-0 win on Sunday.

With eight games remaining, Inter has increased its lead to nine points after second-placed Juventus earlier allowed Chievo striker Sergio Pellissier to score a hat-trick in a 3-3 draw in Turin.

Host Udinese had dominated Inter until Patrick Vieira charged into the box in a rare foray forward on 77 minutes and the ball rebounded off Isla's leg into the net.

Udinese's Fabio Quagliarella had two penalty shouts turned down and a shot expertly tipped over by Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who later went off injured.

Inter was lucky but Juventus, which hosts the champion on April 18, only had itself to blame for letting Pellissier head in a stoppage-time equalizer.

"Today is a splendid day which I'll remember for a long time," the 29-year-old Italian told Sky Television.

Chievo, which has steadily moved away from the relegation zone in the last month, went ahead midway through the first half when Pellissier took advantage of Giorgio Chiellini's mistake to round Gianluigi Buffon and score.

Defender Chiellini, wearing a mask to protect a broken nose, made up for his error by smashing the ball in off the bar but Pellissier grabbed his second just before the break when this time he outpaced Olof Mellberg.

Chievo defenders Santiago Morero and Mario Yepes both touched the ball for an unfortunate own-goal early in the second period and Juventus went ahead with 11 minutes left when Vincenzo Iaquinta headed in Mauro Camoranesi's cross.

Pellissier was not to be denied, however, and Chievo deserved its draw against a lethargic Juventus, which substituted the ineffective Alessandro Del Piero at halftime.

AC Milan, in a distant third, beat relegation-threatened Lecce 2-0 thanks to two injury-time goals.

Philippe Senderos and Ronaldinho both claimed the first after getting their heads to a free kick and Filippo Inzaghi soon netted a second.

Substitute Thiago Motta tapped home in the second half to keep Genoa two points clear in the fourth Champions League spot with a 1-0 win at bottom side Reggina.


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