Catania send giants Juventus to second straight defeat

Catania send giants Juventus to second straight defeatRome, Dec 21 - Juventus closed 2009 with an embarrassing 2-1 home defeat against Serie A tail-enders Catania and fell nine points behind leaders Inter Milan, who won 1-0 in a late game with Lazio.

Ahead of a two-week winter break, champions Inter widened their lead on city rivals AC Milan to eight points, although the Devils have a game in hand when the season resumes Jan 6.

Samuel Eto'o scored Inter's 14th-minute winner in the freezing Milanese night, finding the ball on his feet after Fernando Muslera slapped a previous header from the Cameroonian striker.

Earlier Sunday, it was hard to notice the wide point difference between Juve and the Sicily guests, who ran minor risks in a first half they closed one up through a spot kick converted on 23 minutes by Uruguay's Jorge Martinez.

Juve were criticised by angry fans before and during the game, with Brazilian Felipe Melo being the main target until coach Ciro Ferrara replaced him on the half-hour mark with Hasan Salihamidzic.

Portuguese Tiago was also disappointing when on 18 minutes he fired a weak shot from an inviting position, then almost ripped off a sleeve from Nicolas Spolli's jersey for a yellow-card foul sanctioned with a penalty.

A first telling attempt for Juve was recorded on 52 minutes, but Brazil play-maker Diego, one of the few bright lights, fired high off a Martin Caceres assist.

Lacklustre Brazil forward Amauri had an effort saved before Salihamidzic aimed wide on 64, but three minutes later the gritty Bosnian beat Mariano Andujar from close range off a deep, precise feed from Diego.

French veteran David Trezeguet missed a close-range chance to reverse the score, while Argentine Mariano Izco was deadly with three minutes left as he finished off a counter attack to further embitter Juve's fans after a 3-1 defeat at Bari and the elimination from the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

The year-ender was far brighter for Roma, lying just two points behind Juve after Argentine defender Nicolas Burdisso and Matteo Brighi sealed a 2-0 win over tough guests Parma.

The newcomers had Massimo Paci dismissed before Brighi's late goal and still remained joint-fourth on 28 points from 17 games despite the defeat.

Napoli also won 2-0 against Chievo thanks to a spot kick converted by Slovak Marek Hamsik and a Fabio Quagliarella goal.

Palermo beat joint-last Siena 1-0, while Livorno came from behind against 10-men Sampdoria in a 3-1 home win that saw Lithuanian Tomas Danilevicius score a brace and his compatriot Marius Stankevicius being sent off.

Saturday's games Bologna-Atalanta and Fiorentina -?AC Milan and Sunday's Genoa-Bari and Udinese- Cagliari were cancelled due to snow and chilling temperature. (dpa)