MILAN, 8 December 2003 — Christian Vieri scored twice for Inter Milan as they beat Perugia 2-1 in Serie A yesterday to maintain their unbeaten run under coach Alberto Zaccheroni and fire them back into the title race.
Third-placed Juventus suffered their third defeat inside a week, going down 2-0 to Lazio. European champions AC Milan lead Serie A by three points from AS Roma after Saturday’s 1-0 win at Empoli. Roma face Chievo in Verona later.
Fifth-placed Parma kept in touch with the leaders with two goals from Alberto Gilardino giving them a 2-1 win at Lecce.
Inter are unbeaten in Serie A since Zaccheroni took over from Hector Cuper in October and the victory over Perugia was their fourth win in a row.
Vieri, returning from an injury lay-off, fired Inter ahead in the 25th minute with a left-foot finish after a neat exchange between Emre Belozoglu and Julio Ricardo Cruz.
Inter struggled under pressure from Perugia for long periods of the game but Vieri doubled their advantage 10 minutes from the end — racing on to a pass from Cruz and confidently firing home.
Giovanni Tedesco pulled a goal back for the visitors two minutes from time but Inter held on to keep hold of fourth place.
Many pundits expected Parma to fade when their Brazilian striker Adriano was sidelined with a serious hamstring injury but Italy Under-21 international Gilardino is proving to be an able replacement.
Gilardino was brought down by Lecce keeper Vukasin Poleksic in the 31st minute and the debutant was sent off for the challenge, but substitute keeper Marco Amelia saved Domenico Morfeo’s penalty.
It was Gilardino though who put Parma ahead just after the break, latching on to a Mark Bresciano through ball and beating Amelia with a fine left-foot strike.
Impressive Uruguayan Ernesto Chevanton brought lowly Lecce level with a 69th minute penalty but Gilardino secured the three points for Parma with some smart footwork and a clinical finish in the 77th minute.
Bologna picked up their first win since September with a 3-2 victory over Ancona, including a spectacular strike from Carlo Nervo and an instinctive finish from Giuseppe Signori.Germany international striker Carsten Jancker scored only his second goal in two and a half seasons as Udinese beat Reggina 1-0. Jancker managed just one goal last term in Serie A following his goalless final season in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich.
Everton Settle for a Point With Manchester City
In London, Everton edged out of the Premier League relegation zone yesterday after a scrappy 0-0 draw with Manchester City at Goodison Park.Everton had the best two chances to score, but Lee Carsley failed to find the target from the edge of the six-yard box and fellow midfielder Thomas Gravesen hit the post with the City keeper at his mercy in the 85th minute. It was an afternoon to forget for City striker Robbie Fowler, who missed a string of chances and whose team have now gone four league games without scoring.
South Korea, Japan Set Up East Asian Showdown
In Saitama, Japan, South Korea and Japan battled to victories in the East Asian Championship yesterday to set up a super-charged clash between the fierce rivals in the final round of matches.
South Korea captain Yoo Sang-chul struck just before halftime as the 2002 World Cup semifinalists beat China 1-0 to make it two wins out of two, despite being reduced to 10 men after 60 minutes in Saitama. Japan kept their perfect record intact with a 1-0 win over Hong Kong in another bad-tempered game and will face the Koreans in Yokohama on Wednesday with the East Asian title on the line.