Inter held to 1-1 draw by Udinese

Defending champion Inter Milan was held to a 1-1 draw by Udinese in the Italian league on Sunday.

updated: August 28, 2007 10:29 IST
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Defending champion Inter Milan was held to a 1-1 draw by Udinese and European champion AC Milan rolled to a 3-0 win at Genoa as the title favorites opened the Italian league season on Sunday.

AS Roma, which is showing signs it could improve on its second-place finish last season, won 2-0 at Palermo with goals from Philippe Mexes and Alberto Aquilani. A week ago, Roma beat Inter in the Italian super cup.

At San Siro, Inter defender Ivan Cordoba headed the ball into his own net following an Udinese corner in second-half injury time. Dejan Stankovic had put Inter ahead nine minutes in but Inter was reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Julio Cesar was sent off for a handball outside the area in the 56th.

"In the first half we played well, we had a chance to close the game and we didn't do it," Inter coach Roberto Mancini said. "These games need to be 'closed,' because if not - at the beginning of the season with the heat - they become strange."

Julio Ricardo Cruz had a clear chance to make it 2-0 in the first half but shot high.

Temperatures throughout Italy soared above 40 degrees C as the afternoon games were played. Mancini said the match should have been played at night.

The draw added to Inter's rough start to the season. Besides the supercup loss to Roma, Inter also lost defender Marco Materazzi to injury during Italy's friendly defeat to Hungary on Wednesday.

Kaka scored twice and Massimo Ambrosini added another as Milan cruised against Genoa, which returned to Serie A after a 12-season absence.

Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti predicted Kaka could be the league's leading scorer.

"I thought about it after the game. It wouldn't surprise me," Ancelotti said.

With 10 goals, Kaka led the Champions League last season.

Ambrosini headed in a free kick by Andrea Pirlo in the 21st and Kaka angled in a shot after Massimo Oddo ran up the right flank in the 44th. Kaka also converted a penalty in first-half added time after Alberto Gilardino was tripped by Genoa goalkeeper Rubens Rubinho.

"There's always the worry that you don't find your form right away. But we did well from the start," Ancelotti said. "Everything wasn't perfect but the squad had the right approach."

Filippo Inzaghi was rested for Friday's European super cup against Sevilla.

Milan fans were barred from the match for fears of a violent vendetta. Genoa fan Vincenzo Spagnolo was stabbed to death during a brawl with Milan supporters outside Luigi Ferraris stadium in 1995 and the two clubs had not met since.

No violence was reported.

In Palermo, Mexes redirected a cross from Rodrigo Taddei to put Roma ahead three minutes in and Aquilani scored from 25 meters (yards) in the 27th as Italy coach Roberto Donadoni looked on from the stands.

Palermo hit the goal frame twice.

Napoli's return to the top division after six years was spoiled with a 2-0 loss to visiting Cagliari.

Napoli's archbishop, Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, attended the game at San Paolo stadium.

Fiorentina beat Empoli 3-1 in a Tuscan derby with goals from Gianpaolo Pazzini, Adrian Mutu and Riccardo Montolivo. Christian Vieri came on for Mutu in the 75th for his Fiorentina debut.

Former Roma forward Vincenzo Montella scored an 86th-minute winner as freshly stocked Sampdoria beat Siena 2-1.

Catania's 19-year-old Japanese forward Takayuki Morimoto scored once and set up another goal in a 2-2 draw with Parma.

Catania coach Silvio Baldini was expelled in the 85th and kicked Parma manager Domenico Di Carlo in the backside on his way out.

Reggina and Atalanta drew 1-1. Nicola Amoruso headed in for Reggina in the 77th and Cristiano Doni converted a penalty for Atalanta in the 84th.

On Saturday, David Trezeguet scored three goals and Vincenzo Iaquinta added two more as Juventus returned to Serie A in style with a 5-1 rout of Livorno.

Also, Lazio and Torino played to a 2-2 draw in the first game of the season. Goran Pandev and Tommaso Rocchi scored for Lazio and Alessandro Rosina and Tommaso Vailatti netted for Torino.