Inter Milan beat Empoli

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Inter Milan beat Empoli 3-0 Sunday to equal its club record of eight straight wins in the Italian league.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:38 IST
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Inter Milan beat Empoli 3-0 Sunday to equal its club record of eight straight wins in the Italian league, and Lazio snapped AS Roma's six-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory in the Rome derby. Hernan Crespo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Walter Samuel scored in the second half for Inter. "We played a great game in a tough stadium, against a team that knows how to put you in trouble," Inter coach Roberto Mancini said. "We defended well in the first half, didn't risk anything, and then we closed the game like great teams do." Empoli has the second-best defense in Serie A and was the last team to beat Inter in the league - on April 30 of last season. Inter previously won eight straight on three different occasions - in 1939-40, 1964-65 and 1988-89 - and went on to win the league each time. "Our strength is having a great roster," Mancini said. Inter leads the Serie A with 39 points, followed by Roma with 32 and Palermo with 31. Argentine midfielder Cristian Ledesma scored for Lazio in the 44th minute, converting a long, rising shot for only his fourth goal in more than 100 Serie A appearances. Five minutes later, Roma goalkeeper Alexander Doni received a yellow card for tripping Goran Pandev and Lazio captain Massimo Oddo converted a penalty kick. Massimo Mutarelli scored Lazio's third goal in the 73rd, pounding in a rebound of a chip off the crossbar by Stefano Mauri. Palermo beat Livormo On Saturday, Palermo beat Livorno 3-0. Catania moved into fourth place with a 1-0 win over Udinese. Gionatha Spinesi headed in the goal in the 68th minute for the promoted Sicilian club. AC Milan continued to struggle and was held to a 0-0 draw by Torino at the San Siro. Milan striker Alberto Gilardino missed a penalty kick in the 79th. Milan, which began the season with an eight-point penalty from the Italian match-fixing scandal, is in 15th place with 13 points. It has won only three of eight games at home, in contrast to its undefeated record of 18 wins and one draw last season. "Milan is paying for its penalty," said Torino coach Alberto Zaccheroni, a former Milan coach. "They have a structure set up to compete for the league and Champions League titles, but the handicap took away enthusiasm." Last season's Serie B winner Atalanta beat Messina 3-2 to move into a tie for fifth with Livorno, while Adrian Mutu's 80th-minute goal gave Fiorentina a 1-0 win at Chievo Verona. Fiorentina, which has a 15-point penalty from the scandal, moved out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. Cagliari-Parma and Sampdoria-Siena played scoreless draws. At Empoli, Crespo scored in the 61st on a rebound after Ibrahimovic's header had hit the crossbar. Ibrahimovic scored with a shot that went in off the post in the 79th, and Samuel headed in his second goal of the season in the 87th on a cross from Nicolas Burdisso. Injuries Brazil striker Adriano, returning from a back injury, replaced Crespo after the Argentine had scored. At Stadio Olimpico, Roma was in control for most of the first half and had missed several opportunities when the momentum suddenly turned. Doni had to make a leaping one-handed save to swipe away a header by Lazio defender Cribari in the 43rd and Ledesma scored a minute later. Referee Roberto Rosetti initially made no call on the play that led to Oddo's penalty. After conferring with both of his linesmen, he pulled out a red card for Doni. Then he switched it to a yellow card when Roma protested. Roma captain Francesco Totti, a late starter with a right ankle injury, took out his anger on Luciano Zauri, pushing the Lazio defender down and stepping on him, earning another yellow card for Roma, which plays Palermo next week. (AP)