Inter title charge rolls on over Cagliari | sports | Hindustan Times
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Inter title charge rolls on over Cagliari

sports Updated: Feb 20, 2011 11:11 IST
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Inter Milan's title charge gained momentum as the champions squeezed past Cagliari 1-0 to close the gap on leaders AC Milan.

Inter's bitter city rivals can push their lead over their neighbours back out to five points with victory today at Chievo but the nerazzurri's ninth win in 11 league games ensured they kept up the pressure ahead of their Champions League clash with Bayern Munich on Wednesday.

Centre-back Andrea Ranocchia scored the only goal of the game in contentious manner as he appeared to be offside. The game began at break-neck speed with Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi plunging to his right to save a vicious Goran Pandev stike after just two minutes.

The visitors went straight up the other end and Inter shot-stopper Julio Cesar tipped over an Andrea Lazzari volley after a clever chip forward from Alessandro Agostini.

From Andrea Cossu's resulting corner Cesar tipped over a Daniele Conti header.

Inter took a controversial lead on seven minutes as Samuel Eto'o took advantage of Cagliari players arguing with the referee to take a quick free-kick.

He played in Houssine Kharja behind the defence and his deflected cross was kept out by Agazzi's leg only for the ball to rebound to the Morocco midfielder, who fired in a cross that hit Ranocchia and a defender on it's way in.

However, television replays showed Ranocchia had been offside as Kharja struck his shot.

Cagliari were straight back on the attack and Cesar tiped a skimming Davide Biondini shot around the post.

After that blistering first 10 minutes, the game settled a little, not in terms of pace but in terms of clear-cut chances.

On 21 minutes quick feet from Eto'o created a chance after a flowing Inter move but Agazzi got down well to stop his shot.

The Cameroon captain enjoyed the best of the rest of the half's chances but sent a free-kick over the bar before he had another shot comfortably saved by the Sardinians' goalkeeper.