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Inter wins but faces crisis of defenders

SERIE A leader Inter Milan handed Genoa its first home league defeat of the season on Saturday when strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mario Balotelli sealed a hard-fought 2-0 victory.

With 11 games left, the champion stays seven points clear of Juventus, which beat city rival Torino 1-0 thanks to Giorgio Chiellini's 81st-minute header from a Pavel Nedved free kick.

Torino goalkeeper Matteo Sereni had tried his best to extend his side's seven-game unbeaten run when he made a full-length save on the line to stop Vincenzo Iaquinta's first-half header.

Juve coach Claudio Ranieri left Alessandro Del Piero and some other first teamers on the bench with one eye on tomorrow's Champions League second leg match with Chelsea.

Inter boss Jose Mourinho played almost his strongest side but center backs Marco Materazzi and Nicolas Burdisso went off injured in the first half and look doubtful for the Champions League clash at Manchester United on Wednesday.

Defenders Cristian Chivu and Walter Samuel were already struggling to be fit for the last 16 game against the holder and Mourinho now has a real headache.

He was forced to push midfielder Esteban Cambiasso back into central defense against fifth-placed Genoa and as usual the Argentine put in a committed performance alongside goalkeeper Julio Cesar.

Sixth-placed AS Roma, which hosts Arsenal in the Champions League on Wednesday, earlier lost David Pizarro to injury and had fellow midfielder Daniele De Rossi sent off in a 1-1 home draw with Udinese.


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