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Ibrahimovic dazzles as Inter close in on title

Jose Mourinho's Internazionale took another big step towards retaining their Serie A title with an easy 3-0 win over bottom side Reggina yesterday. Esteban Cambiasso clipped home after six minutes and Zlatan Ibrahimovic slotted in a penalty before grabbing another goal in the second half with a perfect chip to leave his club close to a fourth straight scudetto.

Inter have a seven-point lead over second-placed Juventus, who sparkled in a 4-1 win at depleted AS Roma on Saturday. Nine games remain in the season including Juve at home to Inter on 18 April.

Reggina remained six points adrift of safety after fourth-bottom Bologna lost 1-0 at home to Cagliari. Third-bottom Torino stayed two behind Bologna after Giampaolo Pazzini and Antonio Cassano, both hoping for an Italy call-up later, scored one apiece in Sampdoria's 3-1 win.

Second-bottom Lecce drew 2-2 at home with Atalanta but Chievo moved six clear of trouble after a 1-0 win over Palermo. Genoa stayed ahead in the race for the fourth Champions League qualifying spot with a 2-0 home win over Udinese while fifth-placed Fiorentina, two behind, beat Siena 1-0.

At San Siro, midfielder Cambiasso, one of Inter's best performers this term, was playing as an emergency centre back because of a raft of injuries but still managed to open the scoring. He netted from close range after Dejan Stankovic's clever flick.

Four minutes later Sweden striker Ibrahimovic scored from the spot after rare starter Mancini was tripped by Carlos Valdez. Ibrahimovic, who also hit the post with a trademark drive in the first half, then gained his 19th goal of another superb Serie A season when he burst through Reggina's weary defence and expertly chipped the ball into the top corner.