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Sampdoria beats Inter Milan to take Serie A lead

SAMPDORIA leapfrogged Inter Milan atop the Serie A standings yesterday after beating the defending champion 1-0 behind Giampaolo Pazzini's goal in the 72nd minute.

Pazzini scored his third goal of the campaign in a game of few chances for either side to give Inter its first loss of the season.

Sampdoria now has 15 points from six games, with Inter left in second on 13. Juventus also has 13 and can take the league lead with a win against Bologna today.

"It was a really important goal," Pazzini said. "We needed to have an excellent performance to overtake them at the top of the table and we did, and it makes this a great evening.

"We did the same as we did for all five matches so far. We lost to Fiorentina in midweek, but tonight we did as we always do, worked hard and had a great game."

In the second match of the night, Fiorentina needed a penalty to beat Livorno 1-0.

Stevan Jovetic slotted home the spot kick after Paixao Diniz handled Juan Vargas' cross from the left.

Livorno couldn't capitalize on Dario Danielli being sent off, but came close to equalizing in the 81st when Fiorentina goalkeeper had to react quickly to push Cristiano Lucarelli's effort over the bar.

In Genoa, both teams struggled to create chances in the first half, with Sampdoria captain Angelo Palombo missing the best opportunity in the 27th. After Inter failed to clear a corner, the ball fell to Palombo on the penalty spot, but the unmarked midfielder swung and missed the ball.

Diego Milito had a chance to give the visitors the lead in the 51st after taking a diagonal pass from Mario Balotelli into the box, but the Argentine forward wasted time and was closed down by the Sampdoria defense.

Both sides made appeals for penalties in the second half. Sampdoria's Andrea Poli claimed he was pushed over in the box by Davide Santon, Balotelli then argued that Daniele Mannini used his hand to deflect his header.

It was Santon's error that allowed Sampdoria to score the winner. The young fullback slipped in his area, allowing Mannini to take the loose ball and cross for Pazzini to score past Julio Cesar.

"Santon made a mistake, but any player can make a mistake," Mourinho said. "Never in my career have I had a player who hasn't made a mistake.

"But it means we've dropped three points. They go top with 15, we're in second with 13."

Inter thought they had scored an equalizer with seven minutes remaining. Christian Chivu deflected Ricardo Quaresma's shot past the wrong-footed Lucas Castellazzi, but the Romanian's effort was ruled out for offside.

Samuel Eto'o came close just before the final whistle, but Castellazzi pushed his free kick away for a corner.


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