Milan: Inter Milan’s title hopes suffered a serious blow on Sunday after they let slip a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 at home to AS Roma and leave leaders Juventus five points clear.
Inter were 3-1 up with just seven minutes remaining when mid-table Roma scored twice, first through an own goal from Luigi di Biagio and then a dramatic and superbly taken equaliser a minute later from substitute Vincenzo Montella.
Inter, who are searching for their first Italian league title since 1989, must now hope that Juventus fail to win at least twice in the remaining seven games to have any hope of winning the ‘scudetto’.
Juventus, who beat Torino 2-0 on Saturday, are now firm favourites to defend their title and win their 27th Italian championship, especially as third-placed AC Milan also lost 0-1 to Parma on Saturday.
All the action at the San Siro came in a remarkable six-goal second half that began with a strike from Roma’s Antonio Cassano just seconds after the restart, the young forward’s toe-poked shot from the edge of the area looping over Francesco Toldo.
Inter fought back with Christian Vieri scoring his 24th goal of the season after racing on to a long ball forward from Di Biagio and firing home.
Uruguayan Alvaro Recoba then put Inter ahead with a fine solo. When Turkish midfielder Emre struck in the 77th minute, after a Sergio Conceicao cross had eluded the Roma defence, Inter looked to be home and dry.
But as so often during their barren 14 years, Inter pressed the self-destruct button. A Vincent Candela cross was headed down by Massimo Marazzina and Di Biagio put through his own goal during the ensuing scramble.
A minute later, Inter substitute Domenico Morfeo was robbed inside his own half and Montella took a quick glance up before curling a beautiful left-footer over Toldo and into the top corner.
The drama did not stop there — Montella went close to a winner as he hit the post and then at the other end, substitute Gabriel Batistuta also struck the post as Inter looked to restore advantage.
Lazio and Chievo Verona both enjoyed comfortable wins to keep up the battle for the fourth qualification spot for the Champions League.
Fourth-placed Lazio defeated lowly Como 3-0 at the Olympic Stadium while Chievo kept in touch with a 3-0 win at home to Udinese but remain in sixth place, four points behind Lazio.