Cordoba's own goal pegs back Internazionale

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The Independent Football

Internazionale began their Serie A title defence with a 1-1 home draw with Udinese yesterday after an Ivan Cordoba own goal in injury time, while Milan won 3-0 at promoted Genoa helped by two goals from Kaka.

Inter took an early lead through midfielder Dejan Stankovic after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's clever pass but goalkeeper Julio Cesar was sent off for handball outside the box after 57 minutes and the champions were unable to hold out.

Milan taught Genoa a lesson on their return to the top flight after a 12-year absence with Massimo Ambrosini's powerful header and Kaka's cool finish and penalty giving the European champions an easy victory.

Fiorentina had an equally comfortable 3-1 home win over their Tuscan rivals Empoli to show they could still be a force this season despite Luca Toni leaving for Bayern Munich.

Adrian Mutu sliced through the defence to score the pick of the goals for Fiorentina, who like Milan were effectively ruled out of last season's title race because of points deductions following Italy's match-fixing scandal.

Juventus, demoted in the scandal, returned to the top flight with a thumping 5-1 home win over Livorno on Saturday.

Inter had looked well on the way to an opening-day victory when Stankovic scored after nine minutes but Udinese played their way into the match with the Italy striker Fabio Quagliarella, who spent last season at Sampdoria, missing several chances.

Cesar's dismissal put Inter on the defensive even more and they paid the price when defender Cordoba inadvertently flicked the ball into the corner as Udinese packed out the area.

Milan had no such trouble in Genoa despite away fans being controversially banned because of fears of revenge for the killing of a Genoa fan when the clubs met in 1995, the last time they were in Serie A.

The promoted side offered little in attack and allowed Ambrosini a free header after 21 minutes.

Napoli found life tough back in the top flight, losing 2-0 at home to Cagliari. Vincenzo Montella gave Sampdoria a 2-1 win at Siena with a late volley.

Parma's 2-2 draw with Catania was overshadowed by the visiting coach Silvio Baldini being sent to the stands in his first game in charge after kicking out at his Parma counterpart Domenico Di Carlo.