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Grosso goal gives Juve 1-0 win over Udinese

FABIO Grosso's 51st-minute strike gave Juventus a 1-0 victory over injury-depleted Udinese yesterday, keeping the Turin club within five points of Serie A leader Inter Milan.

Grosso, whose spotkick in a penalty shootout sealed Italy's World Cup title three years ago, latched onto a cross from Jose Martin Caceres to cap a perfectly executed series of passes.

Earlier, AC Milan overcame a series of defensive lapses to beat Cagliari 4-3 at San Siro with goals from Clarence Seedorf, Marco Borriello, Alexandre Pato and Ronaldinho.

"All four forwards scored, which is something very positive," Milan coach Leonardo said. "We had some problems defending and with coverage at times but that's to be expected when you play with (four forwards)."

AS Roma captain Francesco Totti marked his return from knee surgery with a hat trick in a 3-1 win over Bari. All of Totti's goals at the Stadio Olimpico came in the first half.

Sampdoria beat 10-man Chievo Verona 2-1 to move back into the Champions League places. A goal from Marco Rossi put Samp ahead in the 19th minute and Chievo was reduced to 10 men just before the break with a red card for Luciano.

Antonio Cassano provided the pass for Giampaolo Pazzini to score Samp's second in the 65th before Andrea Mantovani pulled one back for Chievo 10 minutes from time.

Inter Milan leads with 32 points, Juventus has 27, Milan 25 and Sampdoria 24.

Inter defeated Bologna 3-1 Saturday.

Elsewhere, Palermo and Catania played out a 1-1 draw in a tense Sicilian derby.

Giulio Migliaccio put Palermo ahead after four minutes and Jorge Martinez equalized for Catania in the 55th. A late goal from Catania's Giuseppe Mascara was ruled out for a questionable offside call.

Nico Pulzetti scored a 90th-minute winner in Livorno's 2-1 win over Genoa, Napoli and Lazio drew 0-0 and Atalanta beat last-place Siena 2-0 in what was probably Marco Baroni's last game as the Tuscan club's coach. Prospective replacement Walter Novellino attended the game.

Missing forwards Antonio Di Natale, Simone Pepe and Alexis Sanchez, Udinese had a hard time threatening in Turin and Juventus couldn't find a way through either, until Grosso's strike.

"In the first half we had trouble finding spaces, but the important thing was to win and that was very difficult today," Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara said.

After the goal, Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero came on to mark his return from a two-month injury layoff.

"Del Piero is a key player but he was coming off a long period out and I preferred not to risk him from the start, so I put him on when the pace should have slowed, although actually it didn't slow," Ferrara said.

Juve midfielder Mauro Camoranesi nearly made it 2-0 with a header in the 77th minute that Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic tipped over the bar.

In Milan, the Rossoneri took the lead six minutes in when Seedorf scored from the center of the area after Borriello had drawn Cagliari goalkeeper Federico Marchetti out of his goal.

Alessandro Matri equalized for Cagliari in the ninth minute when he was left alone by Milan defender Kakha Kaladze inside the area. With Cagliari dominating momentarily, the visitors went 2-1 up in the 30th with a goal from Andrea Lazzari, Milan's defense again having left a player unmarked inside the area.

Milan responded with two goals in the space of three minutes.

Borriello headed in the rebound after a Pato shot in the 38th and Pato then collected a pass from Ronaldinho before scoring with a precise shot into the top corner.

Ronaldinho made it 4-2 with a penalty in the 62nd, celebrating with his usual samba dance.

"I'm feeling good physically and I'm playing in my position, the same position I had with Barcelona," Ronaldinho said.

Cagliari made the San Siro crowd fret to the end with a goal from Nene following a counterattack in the 69th.

In the capital, Totti scored six minutes into his return, converting a penalty after Mirko Vucinic was dragged down inside the area.

Playing his first game in nearly 50 days, the Roma captain doubled the lead with a free kick through Bari's wall in the 14th minute, and completed the hat trick with a left-footed shot from a narrow angle in the 28th.

Totti nearly scored again a few minutes later but Bari goalkeeper Jean-Francois Gillet deflected his shot off the post.

"I wasn't expecting a game like this from Francesco," Roma coach Claudio Ranieri said. "Beyond the goals, he didn't make any mistakes, he was always in the right place. He's a precious player."

Bari pulled one back with an own goal by Roma defender Marco Andreolli following a corner in the 73rd.

Despite playing only eight of Roma's 13 games, Totti is the Serie A's joint top scorer with Udinese's Antonio Di Natale with nine goals each.


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