Football: Ronaldo comes to rescue of Lucescu

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The Independent Online
AN 89TH-minute winner yesterday by Ronaldo - only his fourth league goal of the season - gave the Romanian Mircea Lucescu his first Serie A victory since he took over from Luigi Simoni as coach of Internazionale at the start of the month. The 1-0 win at Udinese put Inter back in the title hunt.

The Brazilian moved on to a pass from Roberto Baggio following a scramble in the Udinese penalty area and stroked a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Luigi Turci from close range.

Lucescu made two tactical substitutions in the game, throwing on the Nigerian Taribo West for Fabio Galante and adding Baggio to his front line. West had been dropped after he threw his shirt at Lucescu in disgust last weekend when he was substituted in the first half of Inter's unconvincing 1-1 draw with Salernitana. Yesterday Inter managed to put their differences behind them as they recorded their sixth league victory of the season.

George Weah also hit a late winner to give 10-man Milan a 1-0 win over Vicenza, the Liberian sliding in a cross from Oliver Bierhoff after 86 minutes after having had midfielder Massimo Ambrosini sent off for diving in the penalty area - his second bookable offence.

Roma and Parma were tied on 23 points following their 1-1 draw in a game pitting the tightest defence in the Italian top flight against its most prolific attack. Parma had conceded just five goals before Sunday while Roma had scored 26. The Argentinian Hernan Crespo gave Parma a first- half lead after Roma keeper Antonio Chimenti had parried a shot from Enrico Chiesa in the 39th minute.

Roma's arch rivals Lazio hammered Sampdoria 5-2 at the Olympic stadium thanks in part to a hat-trick of free-kicks from Yugoslav defender Sinisa Mihajlovic. Milajlovic's compatriot Dejan Stankovic grabbed Lazio's fourth and Marcelo Salas added a fifth in injury time to take the Italian Cup holders into sixth place.

A last-gasp goal by Egyptian defender Hani Ramzy gave Kaiserslautern a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Eintracht Frankfurt and lifted them into third place in the Bundesliga. Michael Ballack had put the German champions ahead after four minutes, but Damir Stojak equalised for Frankfurt in the 74th minute.

Elsewhere, Hansa Rostock broke their nine-game winless streak by beating a depleted VfL Bochum 3-0, thanks to a pair of goals by Swiss-born Oliver Neuville in the 21st and 86th minutes.

Denilson's appalling run of luck continued when the Brazilian missed a penalty 12 minutes into Real Betis's match against visiting Atletico Madrid on Saturday as their Spanish League encounter ended in a 0-0 draw.

Denilson has yet to score this season and was starting for Betis for the first time in three weeks after last month being relegated to the substitutes' bench by his coach, Javier Clemente. The goalless draw meant that Clemente's flawless home record came to an end.

Positions at the top of the French championship remained the same as Girondins Bordeaux and Olympique Marseilles, separated only by goal difference, both won by 3-0 scores. The France striker Lilian Laslandes scored twice, taking his league tally to eight, as pacesetters Bordeaux strolled to victory over Le Havre.

Marseilles beat Metz, down to 10 men from the 42nd minute when the striker Bruno Rodriguez was sent off for dissent, having already been booked for a similar offence.

The Dutch champions, Ajax, have removed their coach, Morten Olsen, and replaced him with the second-team coach, Jan Wouters. The Danish coach had come under increasing pressure following the club's dismal performance in the Champions' League and poor results in the domestic league.

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