Inter equal club record as Lazio win Rome derby

INTER Milan tightened their grip on the Serie A leadership yesterday after an emphatic 3-0 win at Empoli moved them seven points clear of second-placed Roma.

Hernan Crespo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Walter Samuel netted as the Nerazzurri equalled their club record of eight league wins in a row. Inter were then able to sit back and watch Roma suffer a crushing defeat in the Eternal City derby.

Lazio were ruthless in their demolition of the Giallorossi, hammering Luciano Spalletti's men 3-0 with Cristian Ledesma's opener being added to by a Massimo Oddo penalty and a Massimo Mutarelli strike.

Palermo end the weekend just a point behind Roma following yesterday's 3-0 defeat of Livorno.

In Spain, Real Zaragoza moved within touching distance of the top three in the Primera Liga with a 2-0 victory at Racing Santander. Second-half goals from Diego Milito and substitute Angel Lafita earning the visitors their eighth win of the season. Atletico Madrid slipped below Zaragoza in the standings after suffering a 2-1 home defeat against Espanyol.

Valencia returned to winning ways with 4-0 rout of ten-man Deportivo La Corua.

Leaders Barcelona had Ronaldinho to thank for their 1-0 win over Real Sociedad.

Osasuna chalked up their third successive league success with a 3-0 result against Mallorca.

A double from Ismael Urzaiz helped Athletic Bilbao to a 4-2 victory over Recreativo Huelva. Sevilla took all three points against Real Madrid on Saturday, goals from Frederic Kanoute and Ernesto Chevanton sealing a 2-1 win after David Beckham had put Madrid ahead.

In Argentina, Boca Juniors, needing only a draw to clinch the championship, suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Lanus last night to set up a title play-off against Estudiantes.

On an evening of high drama, Estudiantes scored two late goals to beat Arsenal 2-0 and finish level with Boca at the top of the Apertura championship on 44 points from 18 games. Goal difference is not used to decide the title.

• Henrik Larsson scored a late goal to give Helsingborg a 2-2 draw against Brann Bergen of Norway in Scandinavia's winter Royal League, keeping both teams unbeaten in Group 1. Larsson, who moves to Manchester United on loan next month, broke away in the 73rd minute and beat goalkeeper Johan Thorbjornsson. In the other game in the group, the Danes of OB Odense beat Norwegian champions Rosenborg 1-0.

• African champions Al Ahli beat New Zealand's Auckland City 2-0 yesterday to earn a crack at Brazil's Internacional in the Club World Cup. The Egyptian side's reward will be a semi-final against South American champions Internacional in Tokyo on Wednesday.

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