Football: European round up- Lippi offers resignation after Juve lose at home

MARCELLO LIPPI, the volatile coach of Juventus, offered his resignation after he Italian champions slumped to a defeat 4-2 at home to Parma yesterday.

"If the problem with this team is me, then here's my resignation. Let's see them without the Lippi-problem. I've tried everything possible to wake this team up, but I've failed," he said.

Juve's seventh defeat of the season saw them slip to ninth place in Serie A, 15 points adrift of the leaders, Fiorentina.

Juve's president, Vittorio Chiusani, was taken aback by Lippi's statement. "This is the decision of a responsible man who, faced with a series of poor results, has decided to hand in his notice," he said. "It has taken us by surprise. Tomorrow we will make our decision."

Fiorentina's title ambitions took a knock as Milan halted their run of 10 home wins with a 0-0 draw and Gabriel Batistuta twisted his knee. Giovanni Trapattoni, Fiorentina's coach, warned that the Argentinian striker could be out for a month.

Second-placed Lazio closed the gap with a 3-0 victory at home to Perugia that cuts Fiorentina's lead to a point. Marcelo "the Matador" Salas, Lazio's Chilean import, scored in each half after setting up Christian Vieri's 42nd minute opener as Rome's big spenders side set a club record of nine successive wins - just one short of the best seen in Serie A.

The French midfielder Youri Djorkaeff hit a hat-trick as fifth-placed Internazionale, who play Manchester United in the quarter-finals of the European Cup next month, took their record at San Siro to 25 goals in the last five games by beating the moderate Empoli 5-1.

In Spain, Barcelona seized a three-point lead in La Liga with a 2-1 win over Extremadura, while Real Madrid moved into joint second place with Celta Vigo after beating Valladolid 3-2 with a hat-trick from Raul.

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