Inter stretched their winning run in Serie A to four matches as they ran out comfortable 2-0 winners over Catania at San Siro on Sunday.
Goals from Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio proved good enough to defeat Rolando Maran’s team as the 2010 champions dominated for large periods of the game.
Catania had good chances in the first half but failed to capitalise on them.
The win pushes Inter to within one point of second-placed Napoli.
The home side began well, but almost fell behind as Pablo Barrientos’ lofted through-ball found Sergio Almiron free inside the area. The midfielder had time to take the ball down, but could only fire over with only Samir Handanovic to beat.
Inter got back on track soon after, however, and took a deserved lead when Diego Milito found Esteban Cambiasso in space on the edge of the area, and the Argentina midfielder produced an inch-perfect cross to the back post where Cassano headed home for his fifth goal of the season.
Cassano was replaced by Ricardo Alvarez with 20 minutes remaining in the match, and the forward almost made an instant impact as he danced through the Catania defence, but he was denied by a last-ditch block by Nicolas Spolli.
The home side continued to push for a second goal and almost sealed the win when Andrea Ranocchia’s header came back off the post after another excellent centre from Cambiasso.
The three points were confirmed when Palacio controlled Milito’s reverse pass on his chest and volleyed home with five minutes remaining.
Udinese defeated strugglers Pescara 1-0 with Maicosuel scoring the game’s only goal after 53 minutes.
Udinese’s task was made harder by a second yellow card to Brazilian defender Danilo after just 30 minutes but Francesco Guidolin’s men did enough to secure all three points.
Other results saw Parma defeat Sampdoria 2-1 thanks to an Amauri double, Chievo draw 1-1 with Fiorentina and Palermo and Torino play out a goalless draw.
Cagliari climbed out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 home success against Bologna while Atalanta came from behind to defeat bottom-placed Siena 2-1.
More to follow