Inter maintain record form to extend their lead at top

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The Independent Football

The Serie A leaders, Internazionale, beat Empoli 3-0 yesterday to notch up their eighth league win in a row and match their best winning run in Italy's top flight.

The win, thanks to second-half goals by Hernan Crespo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Walter Samuel, equalled a club record that dates back to the 1939-40 season. Inter have 39 points from 15 matches, seven points ahead of second-placed Roma, who crashed to a 3-0 defeat to Lazio in last night's capital derby.

Cristian Ledesma opened the scoring for Lazio and Massimo Oddo and Massimo Mutarelli secured the win in the second half. Catania beat Udinese 1-0 to climb to fourth on 23 points but Milan, who started the season with eight points deducted for their part in a match-fixing scandal, remain mired near the bottom after Alberto Gilardino missed a penalty in a 0-0 draw with Torino.

After watching his players lose 2-0 to Lille in the Champions' League midweek, the coach, Carlo Ancelotti, had asked for an "immediate reaction" against Torino. Instead, it was another listless performance by Milan, who appeared to have saved themselves in the 77th minute when the visiting defender Gabriele Cioffi tripped Gilardino to give away a penalty, but the Italy striker's spot kick struck the post.

Elsewhere, Henrik Larsson scored for Helsingborg in their 2-2 draw with SK Brann in the Royal League, a tournament involving the top four teams in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The veteran striker, who will join Manchester United on a three-month loan deal in January, hit his side's second equaliser.

In Germany, Naldo scored a hat-trick in Werder Bremen's 6-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga on Saturday. Bremen moved to 33 points at the top of the standings, two more than second-placed Stuttgart, who won 1-0 against VfL Bochum.

In France Lyon beat Paris St Germain 3-1 last night to extend their lead in Ligue 1.

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