Inter 2-0 Catania: Cassano and Palacio maintain Nerazzurri`s winning league run
Rome: Goals from Antonio Cassano and Rodrigo Palacio proved good enough to defeat Rolando Maran`s team as the 2010 champions dominated for large periods of the game.
Catania had good chances in the first half but couldn`t capitalise on them and in the end were no match for their illustrious opponents.
The home side began well, but almost fell behind as Pablo Barrientos` lofted through ball found Sergio Almiron free inside the area. The midfielder had time to take the ball down, but could only fire over with only Samir Handanovic to beat.
Maran would have been happy with the start his side had made, though Palacio should have done better when he latched onto Cassano`s aerial pass, but he could only head straight at Mariano Andujar.
The Nerazzurri were beginning to take control of the match, and after Joel Obi tested Andujar from range, they took a deserved lead.
Diego Milito found Esteban Cambiasso in space on the edge of the area, and the Argentina midfielder produced an inch-perfect cross to the back post where Cassano headed home for his fifth goal of the season.
The remainder of the half was uneventful, though Catania captain Mariano Izco shoudl have equalised on the stroke of half-time as he put a free header wide from Giovanni Marchese`s cross.
Having to chase the game, the visitors changed to a more attacking 4-3-3 formation, but in their quest for an equaliser they began to leave spaces in midfield, and they almost paid for their change of style.
Inter`s attacking trio of Milito, Cassano and Palacio were a constant threat, and they combined well as to force another opportunity, though the latter could not get on the end of Cassano`s ball across the six-yard box.
Andrea Stramaccioni`s team continued to create the better chances as Milito`s low shot was fumbled round the post by Andujar whilst Palacio headed wide when well placed.
Cassano was replaced by Ricardo Alvarez with 20 minutes remaining, and the forward almost made an instant impact as he danced through the Rossazzurri defence, but he was denied by a last-ditch block by Nicolas Spolli.
The home side continued to push for a second goal and almost sealed the win when Andrea Ranocchia`s header came back off the post after another excellent centre from Cambiasso.
Alvarez should have done better when in space yet only fired straight at Andujar, but the three points were confirmed when Palacio controlled Milito`s reverse pass on his chest and volleyed home.