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Sampdoria draws 1-1 at Lazio in Serie A

SAMPDORIA drew 1-1 at Lazio yesterday to miss a chance to draw level with Inter Milan at the top of the Serie A.

Giampaolo Pazzini gave Sampdoria the lead in the 40th minute, but Francelino Matuzalem equalized for Lazio two minutes later.

Inter leads the standings with 19 points following its 5-0 win over Genoa on Saturday. Sampdoria is second with 17, followed by Juventus and Fiorentina with 15 points each.

In the late match, AC Milan ended a four match run without a win with a 2-1 victory at home to AS Roma that moves Leonardo's side up to eighth.

Jeremy Menez opened the scoring for Roma, but Ronaldinho's penalty and an opportunistic Alexandre Pato strike in the second half secured the points for Milan.

Sampdoria coach Luigi Del Neri was angry at the performance of referee Daniele Orsato and felt that his team should have had a penalty when Lazio defender Modibo Diakhite bundled over Sampdoria midfielder Reto Ziegler in the area.

"I don't think he was evenhanded with his refereeing," Del Neri said. "We've been punished like this throughout the championship."

But Lazio coach Davide Ballardini insisted his team should have also been awarded a penalty.

"There are a lot of things we could talk about," Ballardini said. "There should have been a penalty for a foul on (Mauro) Zarate and (Sebastiano) Siviglia was fouled before the goal."

Ballardini praised his side's performance.

"We had six or seven chances and its great that we can create so many chances against a team that is in form and well organized like Sampdoria is," he said.

Antonio Cassano had the best chance of the opening exchanges, cutting in from the left to force Lazio goalkeeper Fernando Muslera to push away his shot.

On 40 minutes Sampdoria grabbed the lead. Pazzini played Marco Padalino into space on the right wing before racing into the area to head past Muslera.

Two minutes later Lazio drew level. Tommaso Rocchi flicked the ball to Matuzalem, who controlled it instantly and squeezed a shot between Sampdoria defender Marco Rossi and goalkeeper Luca Castelazzi.

After halftime both teams tried hard to create chances, but without success and it wasn't until Lazio midfielder Roberto Baronio was sent off for a second yellow card that the match started to open up.

In the 76th Ziegler made Muslera work hard to push his freekick over the bar.

With six minutes remaining Cassano crashed a shot against the bar and in the last minute Lazio substitute Julio Cruz hit a weak shot straight at Castelazzi after Zarate had found him unmarked in the box.

After the match Pazzini was taken to hospital in Rome with a broken nose after he collided with Muslera in the closing stages of the match.

Roma's goal came from a defensive mix up between Thiago Silva and Alessandro Nesta. Menez pounced on the error, raced into the area and slotted the ball past Milan goalkeeper Dida.

A minute later a similar defensive lapse almost allowed Menez in again, but the angle was too tight and Dida comfortably gathered the ball.

Milan looked nervous in defense throughout the first half and Menez, Daniele De Rossi and Mirko Vucinic all went close to doubling Roma's lead.

However, Milan leveled in the 55th minute when Roma defender Nicolas Burdisso brought Nesta down in the area and Ronaldinho scored from the penalty spot.

Ronaldinho then set up Pato for the winner in the 67th minute. The Brazilian hit a pass over the Roma defense and his compatriot controlled the ball on his chest before rounding Doni to score.

Milan had to play the last 10 minutes with 10 men after Massimo Ambrosini was sent off for elbowing Burdisso but held on for the win.

"Of course we wanted to do better than before," Pato said. "We had a good week, I'm pleased to have scored and I'm pleased by the way Ronaldinho played.

"Our training went much better and everything we did seemed to go better. We were together for the whole week with only one or two people coming back later (from international matches)."

Also yesterday, it was: Catania 2, Cagliari 1; Chievo Verona 1, Bari 2; Livorno 1, Palermo 2; Napoli 2, Bologna 1; Parma 1, Siena 0 and Udinese 1, Atalanta 3.


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