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Roma closes gap at top while Inter draw again

Mattia Destro struck a second-half winner on his return from a long injury lay-off to hand Roma a 2-1 win at home to Fiorentina which reduced the gap on Italian Serie A leaders Juventus to three points on Sunday.

A run of four consecutive draws, coupled with Juventus’s 2-0 win away to Bologna on Friday, had left Roma with a six-point deficit to the Serie A champions.

But despite the constant threat from a Fiorentina side intent on securing UEFA Champions League qualification for next season, Rudi Garcia’s men dug deep to claim their first win since the end of October.

Fiorentina remained in fifth, 13 points behind Juve but only five off Napoli, who sit third and in the first Champions League qualifying place.

In Sunday’s late match Inter spurned the chance to close the gap on Napoli, who were held to a surprise 3-3 draw on Saturday against Udinese, after being held to the same scoreline by Parma with both Rodrigo Palacio and Nicola Sansone bagging a brace.

Sansone opened in the 11th minute when he ran on to a through ball as Inter’s defence looked the other way to beat Handanovic with a low drive inside the keeper’s near post.

Palacio levelled on the stroke of half time when he converted Jonathan’s cross but Inter were stunned only two minutes later when Marco Parolo bundled the ball home after Handanovic had fumbled at his near post.

The match swung in Inter’s direction in the space of three second-half minutes.

Nine minutes after the restart Palacio rose to meet Ricardo Alvarez’s cross to send a header towards goal which Antonio Mirante could only push off the post and into the net.

Two minutes later Palacio headed down for Fredy Guarin and the Colombian took one touch before sending a deflected strike past the wrong-footed Mirante.

Inter’s joy was short-lived, however, Parma pulling level only three minutes later when Sansone brushed off Esteban Cambiasso to send Mattia Cassani’s cross past the beaten Handanovic.

Both sides had chances for the winner but Inter were left with most regrets after Cambiasso fired straight at Mirante after Yuto Nagatomo’s pass in second-half injury time.

Elsewhere, Cagliari, Torino, Chievo and Sampdoria secured precious wins that moved them up several places in the table, with Verona reinforcing sixth place thanks to a 2-1 home win against Atalanta.

Marco Sau scored a brace for Cagliari in a 2-1 home win over Genoa, his winner coming in second-half injury-time after Alberto Gilardino had levelled in the 16th minute.

A 19th minute strike from Kamil Glik was enough for Torino to clinch a 1-0 home win over Lazio, who dropped to 12th, while Cyril Thereau’s second-half strike was enough for Chievo to beat Sassuolo 1-0 away to move out of the bottom three.

Sampdoria, meanwhile, claimed their first win under new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic with basement side Catania offering no reply to second-half goals from Eder and Manolo Gabbiadini.