Crespo saves unbeaten run ahead of Roma showdown

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The Independent Football

Hernan Crespo equalised with 14 minutes to go to salvage a draw for injury-hit Internazionale at Sampdoria yesterday and maintain their unbeaten record in Serie A this season.

Antonio Cassano had put Sampdoria ahead in the 65th minute in Genoa. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Julio Cruz both absent because of injury, Crespo responded by outmuscling a defender to head in a cross from Dejan Stankovic. It was only the Argentine's third goal of the season.

"It's a goal that will improve his morale," the Internazionale coach, Roberto Mancini, said. "And when he starts [scoring], he doesn't stop."

The Serie A leaders were in danger of losing two games in a row following last Tuesday's defeat by Liverpool in the Champions League, and Mancini said: "Every once in a while it's okay to drop a few points. You can't always win. It was a tough match because we were coming off a Champions League game."

Elsewhere, second-placed Roma edged a 1-0 home win over Fiorentina thanks to a second-half goal from Cicinho. It was the Brazilian defender's first goal in Serie A since joining Roma from Real Madrid last summer.

With Internazionale on 60 points and Roma on 51, the two teams meet in the league on Wednesday. "It's true that the [title race] could reopen, but we're still nine points ahead," Mancini said. "To be honest, I'm not too worried."

Juventus have written to the Italian football federation and referees' association demanding that action be taken to improve the performance of officials.

Juve, third in the table, lost 2-1 at Reggina on Saturday after conceding a debatable penalty in stoppage time. Claudio Ranieri's side felt aggrieved after having three penalty appeals of their own turned down.

The Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko, who was signed from Liverpool last month, was penalised for dangerous play when his foot came near the head of Reggina's Nicola Amoruso while attempting a bicycle kick. Amoruso converted the penalty following vehement protests from Juventus. Alessandro del Piero had equalised for the visitors in the 71st minute after Franco Brienza put Reggina ahead in the first half.

"We need to rediscover faith in referees and reinvigorate Italian football," said the letter which was published on Juventus's website yesterday.