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Inter rallies from two goals down to beat Catania

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Associated Press
3/3/2013 12:35:20 PM
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ROME -- Inter Milan came back from two goals down to beat Catania 3-2 Sunday, shaking off a horrendous first half and Antonio Cassano's latest outburst of bad behaviour.

Also, Francesco Totti tied Swedish great Gunnar Nordahl for second place on Serie A's all-time scoring list with his 225th goal as Roma beat Genoa 3-1 for its third consecutive win.

The pre-match buildup for Inter was centred on a training scuffle between Cassano and manager Andrea Stramaccioni, and Cassano was left off the squad for the match in Sicily.

"We started awfully, which was in part due to the crazy atmosphere and the euphoria at the stadium," Stramaccioni said. "But after the break a different squad came out and left its soul out there. ... Fortunately we comment on the matches after they're finished."

Having already lost another forward, Diego Milito, for the season with a knee injury, Cassano's absence weighed heavily.

Not surprisingly, Inter appeared distracted at the start and Gonzalo Bergessio put Catania ahead seven minutes in at the Massimino stadium after Inter defender Juan Jesus left him the ball deep inside the area.

Catania doubled its lead in the 19th following another defensive lapse with Giovanni Marchese left free to head in.

However, Inter organized itself in the second half, which began with goalkeeper Samir Handanovic thwarting two more Catania chances.

Ricky Alvarez scored for Inter in the 51st, heading in a cross from Rodrigo Palacio, and Palacio equalized in the 70th, heading in a cross from Alvara Perreira.

Palacio then scored the winner in the second minute of added time after getting set up by Esteban Cambiasso inside the area.

Cassano has had run-ins with authority figures throughout his career, from Fabio Capello at Roma and Real Madrid to former Sampdoria president Riccardo Garrone during his time with the Genoa-based club.

"The incident was over-amplified," Stramaccioni said. "For someone as direct as I am, whatever I have to say to Antonio I'll do it face to face. ... It wasn't an exclusion, I just decided not to put him in the squad. It's normal to have an exchange of opinions with a player. We never had our hands on each other."

Stramaccioni said Cassano would be included in the squad for Thursday's Europa League match at Tottenham.

Inter moved into a tie for fourth with Lazio, 12 points behind Serie A leader Juventus.

On Friday, Juventus drew 1-1 at second-place Napoli, and on Saturday AC Milan beat Lazio 3-0 to jump ahead of the Roman club into third place.

Fiorentina is sixth after beating visiting Chievo Verona 2-1 with a 78th-minute strike from newly signed Argentine forward Marcelo Larrondo.

Manuel Pasqual had put Fiorentina ahead in the fourth, Ghana midfielder Isaac Cofie equalized for Chievo in the 38th and Larrondo decided the match with a close-range header, reacting quickly to redirect another header from Luca Toni.

Roma is seventh and improving from week to week under interim manager Aurelio Andreazzoli after Zdenek Zeman was fired a month ago.

Totti put Roma ahead with a penalty in the 16th after Daniele De Rossi was tripped and 18-year-old defender Alessio Romagnoli scored the winner in the 58th with a header after former Roma forward Marco Borriello had equalized for Genoa.

Simone Perrotta added another for Roma in the 88th, redirecting a pass from Totti.

Genoa ended with 10 men after Juraj Kucka picked up his second yellow card in the 78th.

It was the 10th goal this season for the 36-year-old Totti, who is in his 21st season with Roma having made his debut for his hometown club as a 16-year-old.

Silvio Piola -- who played for Pro Vercelli, Lazio, Torino, Juventus and Novara from 1929-54 -- leads the all-time list with a seemingly insurmountable 274 goals.

Nordahl scored most of his Serie A goals with AC Milan but concluded his career with Roma in 1958.

Still, Roma fans unfurled a banner that read: "225, next stop Piola."

"It was an emotional moment," Totti said. "I'm happy I was able to do it before my fans."

Elsewhere Sunday, Udinese won 1-0 at Pescara with Antonio Di Natale scoring for the 15th time this season; and Sampdoria beat visiting Parma 1-0 with a 58th-minute goal from Mauro Icardi, the 20-year-old Argentine forward who has scored eight goals since January.

Pescara coach Cristiano Bergodi was fired after his club lost.

Also, Bologna beat Cagliari 3-0 with goals from Saphir Taider, Alessandro Diamanti and Cristian Pasquato; and Giacomo Bonaventura scored twice as Atalanta won 2-0 at Siena, which remained tied for last with Pescara and Palermo.

Earlier in the lunchtime fixture, Palermo drew 0-0 at Torino.

Rodrigo Palacio (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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