Inter scrape lucky win

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The Independent Football

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a dubious penalty as 10-man Internazionale beat second-from-bottom Empoli 1-0 yesterday to pull eight points clear at the top of Serie A.

Inter took the lead at the San Siro in the 34th minute with a spot- kick conceded for hand-ball by Ighli Vannucchi – though television replays suggested the ball hit the midfielder's face.

Brazilian goalkeeper Julio Cesar saved a late Luca Saudati penalty for the champions, who had Patrick Vieira sent off in the 39th minute for swearing when protesting against a yellow card he had just been given. Second-placed Roma stay on 45 points after losing 3-0 at lowly Siena.

Third-placed Juventus trail the leaders by 12 points after being held 1-1 at home by bottom club Cagliari.