Milito gives Inter spoils and leaves Milan trailing

 

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The Independent Football

A Diego Milito goal early in the second half gave Internazionale the spoils in last night's Milan derby and cost Milan top spot in Serie A.

The Argentine took advantage of poor defending by Ignazio Abate to dribble into the box and strike across Christian Abbiati to give the 'away' side the points and hand the champions a first league defeat since October. Milan enjoyed the majority of possession but Claudio Ranieri's side prevailed 1-0 for a first win over their San Siro neighbours in four meetings.

That defeat meant Juventus remained a point clear at the top, despite the Old Lady also dropping home points in a 1-1 draw with Cagliari. Mirko Vucinic's early strike put Antonio Conte's side ahead before Andrea Cossu powered in three minutes after the restart. Saturday's match between Catania and Roma was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch amid farcical scenes in Sicily. The game was called off midway through the second half following heavy rain, the scores level at 1-1.

In Spain, Barcelona remain five points behind Real Madrid, beating Real Betis 4-2 despite surrendering a two-goal lead. The champions raced ahead through Xavi Hernandez and Lionel Messi, to go two up after 12 minutes, only for Betis to become the first visitors to score at the Nou Camp in 13 matches, Ruben Castro and Roque Santa Cruz levelling early in the second half. Despite a spirited display, Betis eventually succumbed to Alexis Sanchez's low shot and a Messi penalty.

Jose Mourinho praised Real Mallorca after his Real Madrid side were forced to dig deep on Saturday for the three points, which helps keep them clear of Barcelona at the top of La Liga .

Real went behind to Tomer Hemed's first-half header before goals from substitute Gonzalo Higuain and Jose Callejon turned the game around. "They were very focused and all their men played together waiting for a counter-attack," Mourinho said. "They had a fantastic first half. Sometimes you have to give credit to your opponent.

The World Cup winner and Napoli and Barcelona legend Diego Maradona has been admitted to a hospital in Dubai, where he coaches Al Wasl, for the removal of kidney stones. His club said the former Argentina great complained of abdominal pains yesterday.

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