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Roma beat leaders Inter to keep Serie A title race wide open

Roma striker Luca Toni celebrates after scoring the winner against Inter Milan on Saturday.
Roma striker Luca Toni celebrates after scoring the winner against Inter Milan on Saturday.
  • Roma move into second place in Italy with a 2-1 victory at home to leaders Inter Milan
  • Claudio Ranieri's team reduce Inter's advantage to a point thanks to Luca Toni winner
  • Diego Milito hit woodwork twice for Inter, while Walter Samuel headed against bar
  • Palermo go four points clear of fifth-placed Sampdoria with 3-1 win over Bologna
  • FC Internazionale Milano
  • AS Roma
  • AC Milan
  • Palermo
  • Italy

(CNN) -- Roma blew the Italian title race wide open with a 2-1 victory at home to Inter Milan on Saturday that saw Claudio Ranieri's team close to within a point of the four-time defending champions.

The capital club moved above AC Milan into second place after riding their luck against Inter, who hit the woodwork three times.

A mistake by goalkeeper Julio Cesar gifted Daniele De Rossi a 17th-minute opener for the hosts, then Inter defender Walter Samuel headed against the bar just before halftime and fellow Argentine Diego Milito hit the corner of the goalframe soon after the interval.

Jose Mourinho's team drew level in the 66th minute as Wesley Sneijder set up Milito despite Roma's claims for offside, but on-loan striker Luca Toni netted the winner six minutes later after a wayward shot by substitute Rodrigo Taddei dropped in his path.

Milito was again left ruing a close miss as he hit the post deep into injury-time, sealing a frustrating defeat ahead of Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal first leg against CSKA Moscow.

Roma are now unbeaten in 21 league games, a run which began with a 1-1 draw at Inter in November when Ranieri's side were 14 points adrift of the Nerazzuri.

The result was satisfying for Ranieri, who was replaced by Mourinho at English club Chelsea in 2004.

"Now we face a battle of nerves in our remaining games and the real deal begins. We will not give up although Inter are still one point ahead of us," he told reporters

Third-placed AC Milan, who lost to Parma in midweek, can join Roma on 62 points with seven matches to play by beating Lazio on Sunday.

Palermo moved four points clear of fifth-placed Sampdoria with a 3-1 victory at home to Bologna in Saturday's late match thanks to a hat-trick from striker Fabrizio Miccoli.

Miccoli's 10th-minute opener was canceled out by Brazilian forward Adailton on 38, but the former Italy international put the Sicilians ahead at halftime from the penalty spot.

The 30-year-old then sealed victory with 11 minutes to play.

Sampdoria host mid-table Cagliari on Sunday, while sixth-placed Napoli take on Catania and Juventus are at home to Atalanta.