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Ibrahimovic's 2 goals give Inter Milan win

ZLATAN Ibrahimovic scored two goals yesterday to give Inter Milan a 2-0 win over Fiorentina in Serie A, a confidence boost for the Italian leaders only days after being eliminated from the Champions League.

Ibrahimovic brought his goal tally in the league to 17. He first scored in the 11th minute and then added a second in injury time - the second coming after Inter coach Jose Mourinho was sent off for arguing.

"The team had to keep on playing as it has been playing," Ibrahimovic said. "We are first in the championship, but unfortunately we are out of the Champions League, but we still have the league and the Italian Cup."

Fiorentina had a chance to take the lead in the 10th minute. Alberto Gilardino led a break from the penalty area and squared the ball to Adrian Mutu, but the Romania's first time shot was smothered by Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Inter took the lead a minute later when Mario Balotelli floated a free kick into Fiorentina's area. Sebastien Frey tried to punch the ball clear but it rebounded off Ibrahimovic and the Sweden striker was the fastest to react, heading the ball into the open goal.

Ibrahimovic scored his second goal with a free kick.

Dejan Stankovic went close to adding another in the 27th. Following a strong run toward the area, a quick return pass with Ibrahimovic gave him the space for a low shot, but it went just wide.

Fiorentina more chances, too. In the 53rd, Riccardo Montolivio's long range shot forced Cesar to push the ball away for a corner, and 10 minutes later Mutu shot wide when Gilardino was unmarked in front of goal.

Cesar had to produce another save in the 82nd, blocking a low shot by Marco Donadel, but central defender Walter Samuel cleared before Mutu could get to the rebound.

Earlier, Filippo Inzaghi scored his 300th goal in professional football to help AC Milan beat Siena 5-1.

The 35-year-old forward scored twice, with his second taking him to the milestone. Strike partner Alexandre Pato also scored two goals after Andrea Pirlo converted an early penalty. Massimo Maccarone scored a consolation goal for the hosts.

"I feel a bit like a child. Today I'm celebrating an event that fills me with pride," Inzaghi said. "Three hundred goals is really a lot. I didn't have time to prepare any celebrations. I've scored five goals in two weeks that I didn't expect."

Milan made a strong start and quickly took the lead. In the eighth minute, Mathieu Flamini was tripped by Houssine Kharja as he worked to find space in Siena's area and Pirlo made it 1-0 from the penalty spot.

"We did better than last week in the build up," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Unfortunately we don't have a big center forward who can hold the ball up during difficult moments, as instead we have strikers who can escape marking to latch on to through balls."

Ancelotti, who welcomed back Kaka and Ronaldinho after injury, was forced into an early change when goalkeeper Christian Abbiati collided with defender Giuseppe Favalli and the coach had to send on reserve 'keeper Dida.

Inzaghi scored his sixth league goal of the season to put Milan 2-0 up in first-half injury time. David Beckham swung a corner over a packed area and the unmarked Inzaghi tapped in from short range. Pato got his first in the 55th when he scored in his 13th Serie A goal of the season from long range.

Beckham and Pirlo later linked up and Inzaghi ran beyond the Siena defense to shoot past goalkeeper Gianluca Curci.

Pato added some gloss with his second of the match in the 78th. Ronaldinho hit a long ball over the Siena defense and his Brazil teammate rounded Curci before slotting the ball into the empty net.

"Pato was sleeping for a while, but then he scored two goals," Ancelotti said. "He has to work on getting involved more, but he scores goals with the ease of a star."

AS Roma, hoping to return to the Champions League next season, drew 2-2 with Sampdoria despite playing for nearly half an hour with only 10 men.

Earlier in the week, coach Luciano Spalletti said the team would be going all out to insure it finished in fourth place. But his team was lackluster and needed a penalty from Julio Baptista in the 70th minute, his second goal of the game, to leave with a share of the points. Roma is fifth in the standings.

"The team has done well again, even if there were the usual problems that you get after the being knocked out on Wednesday," Spalletti said. "We wanted the boys to give everyone a lift."

Roma made an excellent start when Baptista slid in to tap in Max Tonetto's low cross in the seventh minute. Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano began to cause problems and Doni had to push away Pazzini's header in the 11th.

Pazzini managed to find the net in the 25th, though. Cassano crossed from the left and his strike partner rose above the defense to head home.

He doubled his tally just before halftime when he tapped in the rebound after Doni could only block Marco Padalino's low shot.

Roma went down to 10 men in the 62nd when fullback Marco Motta received a second yellow card for a foul on Padalino. But Baptista brought Roma level in the 70th, converting a penalty after Tonetto had been brought down by Padalino.

Napoli, under former Italy coach Roberto Donadoni, avoided a 10th consecutive loss with a 1-1 draw at Reggina. Bernardo Corradi gave Reggina the lead, but Ezequiel Lavezzi scored a second-half equalizer.

Also yesterday, it was; Atalanta 2, Torino 0; Lazio 0, Chievo Verona 3; Palermo 5, Lecce 2; and Udinese 1, Catania 1.


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