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AC Milan beat AS Roma 2-0
Updated: 2005-03-21 08:35

AC Milan stayed even with Juventus at the top of the Serie A standings and extended its winning streak to eight with a 2-0 win over host AS Roma on Sunday.

AC Milan's Argentine Hernan Crespo (R) scores over the head of AS Roma's defender Christian Panucci and past keeper Gianluca Curci (L) during their Serie A match at the Olympic Stadium in Rome March 20, 2005. AC Milan won the match 2-0. [Reuters]

Argentina striker Hernan Crespo put Milan in the lead by out-leaping defender Christian Panucci for a header in the 63rd minute.

Seven minutes later, Crespo sent another header toward Roma's goal and Panucci intercepted the ball with his arm. The play earned Panucci a red card, reducing his side to 10 men, and awarded Milan a penalty kick that Andrea Pirlo converted.

Roma ended with only nine men when captain Francesco Totti picked up his second yellow card in the 90th.

The loss was a sour debut for Roma coach Bruno Conti, the team's fourth manager this season. The previous coach, Luigi Del Neri, resigned after a loss to Cagliari last weekend.

Juventus beat Reggina 1-0 on Saturday with a 65th-minute winner by captain Alessandro Del Piero. Both Juventus and Milan have 66 points.

Earlier Sunday, Inter Milan took over sole possession of third place after beating Fiorentina 3-2, but may have lost Brazilian striker Adriano to injury.

Inter is in third place with 50 points, followed by Udinese with 48 and Sampdoria with 47. The top four teams at the end of the season earn Champions League berths.

At San Siro, Argentine midfielders Esteban Cambiasso and Juan Sebastian Veron scored a goal each and Colombian defender Ivan Cordoba added the third for Inter. But Cordoba also scored an own-goal for Fiorentina three minutes before the end to make for a tense finish at San Siro.

Fiorentina forward Gianpaolo Pazzini temporarily leveled the match at 1-1 in the 40th.

Adriano strained his right knee in a 38th-minute collision with Fiorentina midfielder Enzo Maresca. After receiving treatment for several minutes while lying down on the turf, the Brazilian was carried off the field on a golf cart.

"I hope it's nothing major, it's too soon to say for sure," Inter coach Roberto Mancini said.

On Tuesday, Adriano's hat trick allowed Inter to eliminate defending champion FC Porto from the Champions League. Inter faces city rival Milan in the quarterfinals of the European competition on April 6 and 12.

"I can't say now if he'll play in the Champions League derby. Fortunately there is a break now," Mancini said, referring to the upcoming league break for national team play.

In Udine, David Di Michele scored an 88th-minute match-winner, his second goal of the day, in Udinese's 2-1 win over 10-man Lecce.

Sampdoria, which entered the day tied for third with Inter, lost 2-1 at home to last-place Atalanta, which got goals from 21-year-old Nigerian revelation Ayodele Makinwa and Cesare Natali.

Makinwa now leads Atalanta with five goals in nine matches since being transferred from Serie B leader Genoa in January.

Also Sunday, nine-man Parma drew 3-3 with Palermo on Alberto Gilardino's injury-time equalizer, boosting the clubs hopes of avoiding relegation.

Gilardino also scored a penalty, as did Italy teammate Luca Toni for Palermo, while Italy coach Marcello Lippi looked on.

Later Sunday, Lippi included Gilardino and Toni on Italy's roster for a World Cup qualifier against Scotland at San Siro next Saturday.

Cagliari's Uruguayan striker Nelson Abeijon equalized in extra time of a 3-3 draw at 10-man Livorno, gaining the Sardinian side only its seventh point on the road this season.

Elsewhere, Chievo Verona beat Brescia 3-1 on two goals by Sergio Pellissier, and Bologna played to a 0-0 draw at Messina.

In Saturday's other match, Igor Tudor headed in the decider to lead Siena over Lazio 1-0 for its first Serie A win in a month.

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