Football: Inter too strong for nine-man Roma

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The Independent Online
The Italian Serie A leaders Internazionale made light of the enforced absence of their Brazilian striker Ronaldo, thrashing nine-man Roma 3-0 yesterday to build a four-point lead over Juventus, the defending champions.

Juventus drew 1-1 at Piacenza, Udinese drew 0-0 at Bari and Parma thrashed the bottom club Napoli 4-0 away from home to move up to fourth, one point behind Udinese.

With the world player of the year absent on international duty at the Confederations Cup, Inter turned to their other international stars to brush aside Roma, third at start of play.

France's Youri Djorkaeff converted a penalty in the 41st minute after Roma's Austrian goalkeeper, Michel Konsel, tripped Diego Simeone, the Argentinian midfielder, who then brilliantly set up Marco Branca for a second goal eight minutes later. Chile's Ivan Zamorano turned in the third in the 71st.

By then, however, Roma had self-destructed, with the defender Matteo Pivotto and their playmaker Francesco Totti sent off within minutes of each other at the start of the second half.

In Spain, Barcelona remain two points clear at the top of the Primera Division, thanks to a 3-1 win over Espanyol in the city derby. Luis Enrique, Giovanni and Sergi scored Barca's goals, while Espanyol had a player and their coach sent off. Second-placed Real Madrid needed an own goal to secure a 1-0 home win over lowly Merida.

The burly striker Carsten Jancker scored twice as Bayern Munich ended a run of three defeats with a 3-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach, closing the gap on the German Bundesliga leaders Kaiserslautern, who lost 2-0 at Hertha Berlin, to four points.

Ajax are running away with the Dutch championship: a 3-0 win at Volendam left them 18 points clear of PSV Eindhoven. In 19 games they have scored 59 and conceded four goals. Jari Litmanen, with two, and Frank de Boer were on target yesterday at the division's bottom club.