ITALIAN FOOTBALL Milan surrender to Juve

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The Independent Online

Juventus are firm favourites to take the Serie A title for the first time in nine years, following a 2-0 victory over the defending champions, Milan, writes Catherine Riley. Goals from Fabrizio Ravanelli, who scored on his national debut against Estonia 10 days ago, and Gianluca Vialli leave the Turin side on 58 points, nine clear of their nearest challengers, Parma, with nine matches to play.

Milan's surrender of the title to their probable successors was further soured by the 85th minute sending-off of their Croat midfielder, Zvonimir Boban. Parma lost ground on Juventus after an opportunist goal by Abel Balbo in the first half brought them a 1-0 defeat by third-placed Roma.

Giuseppe Bergomi celebrated his 600th appearance for Internazionale by scoring the winner against relegation-doomed Reggiana, taking his side into seventh position, surprisingly their highest of the season.

Fiorentina, one place above Inter, kept up their bid for a place in Europe with a convincing 4-0 home win over bottom club Brescia. Serie A's top marksman, Gabriel Batistuta, took his season's tally to 20.

Sampdoria suffered a setback in their preparations for Thursday's first leg of the European Cup-Winners' Cup semi-final with Arsenal at Highbury, losing 2-0 to Napoli. Benito Carbone and Massimo Agostini both scored in the first half, as the Naples side won their fourth home game in a row.