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Sampdoria stays top with win, just ahead of Juve

MARCO Padalino came off the substitutes' bench to score twice as Sampdoria beat Siena 4-1 yesterday to stay top of Serie A and ahead of Juventus on goal difference.

Angelo Palombo and Daniele Mannini scored in the first half and Padalino grabbed a brace in the second, with Michele Fini responding for the visitors. Victory meant Sampdoria has a maximum 12 points from four games.

City rival Genoa was unable to keep up its 100 per cent record and slipped to a 3-1 loss at Chievo, for whom Michele Marcolini, Erjon Bogdani and Sergio Pellissier found the net.

Champion Inter meanwhile moved up to third on 10 points with a 2-1 victory at Cagliari. Diego Milito grabbed both goals after Jeda opened the scoring for the hosts with a penalty, but coach Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands in the second half for taking his protests too far.

After a slow start by Sampdoria, Palombo burst through the midfield and shot low from the edge of the area to give his side the lead in the 23rd.

The goal seemed to relax the hosts and Antonio Cassano began to exert his influence more. From his chip behind the defense, Mannini lifted the ball over Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Curci to double the lead.

Cassano was involved with the third when Curci parried his shot, but the ball ran into the path of Padalino and the Swiss midfielder, who had come on at the start of the second half, slotted home the rebound.

Fini gave Siena some hope in the 68th minute, when his shot from the edge of the area caught Sampdoria keeper Luca Castellazzi by surprise. But five minutes from time Padalino grabbed his second in similar fashion to his first, tapping in after Curci had blocked Giampiero Pazzini's effort.

"It's a good start, these four games," Sampdoria coach Luigi Del Neri said. "We're pleased, as the boys are showing what they can do.

"They have a great mentality. Everyone helps out in defense and they get to show what they can do in attack. We've had a bit of luck, which everyone knows you need. We play to win and we can improve."

Chievo began in determined fashion against Genoa and took the lead in the fifth minute, Marcolini slotting home a penalty after Giuseppe Biava had pulled down Bogdani.

Two minutes later Bogdani doubled the lead when he tapped in Luciano's cross at the far post after Genoa had been unable to clear the danger.

Genoa was given a lifeline in the 65th minute after Mario Yepes inexplicably handled Giuseppe Sculli's cross and Sergio Floccari scored the penalty.

However, Chievo put the result beyond doubt in the 76th minute. Giampiero Pinzi crossed from the right and Pablo Granoche headed across goal for Pellissier to nod home unmarked at the far post.

In injury time Sculli was pulled down by Luciano in the box, but Stefano Sorrentino saved Floccari's spot kick.

Inter was made to work for its win after Jeda fired home a penalty in the 16th minute after Maicon had tripped Alessandro Matri.

"I don't think we were at our best in the first half," goalkeeper Julio Cesar said. "But at halftime the boss gave the team a lift and the side responded well in the second half.

"The result is what we wanted; three points, three very important points and now the team has to move forward."

Mourinho's side needed Cagliari to make a mistake to allow them to equalize. Daniele Conti dithered on the ball and, when h was tackled by Samuel Eto'o, Milito pounced on the loose ball and raced into the area to slot past Federico Marchetti.

Milito doubled his tally in the 56th minute. Dejan Stankovic hit a long ball over the defense and again the Argentine outpaced the defense to score.

Mourinho's sending off came after he protested that Davide Astori should have received a second yellow card for a foul on Inter's Mario Balotelli midway through the second half.

"The boss is disappointed to have been sent off," Inter sporting director Marco Branca said. "But he felt he was right to protest."

AS Roma bounced back from losing its Europa League match to Basle in midweek with a 3-1 win over Fiorentina.

Captain Francesco Totti gave Claudio Ranieri's side the lead from the penalty spot in the 27th minute after a handball by Alessandro Gamberini.

In the 29th, Totti thought he had grabbed his second, but it was ruled out for offside. Four minutes later though, he did double Roma's tally.

Fiorentina was unable to clear David Pizarro's corner and Totti slotted home the loose ball.

Four minutes from the break, Totti set up Daniele De Rossi for the third with a left wing cross that the midfielder headed powerfully past Fiorentina keeper Sebastien Frey.

With six minutes remaining, Alberto Gilardino scored a consolation goal for the visitors, his second of the season.

"We needed to find our speed, especially with how we move the ball," De Rossi said. "We've lacked a bit of familiarity and I think in the first half we definitely found it. It is only the fourth game, we are only a few points behind the top teams."

Also yesterday, it was: Bari 4, Atalanta 1; Catania 1, Lazio 1; AC Milan 1, Bologna 0; Parma 1, Palermo.


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