Defending champions Inter Milan clinched their first victory of the Serie A season at the second attempt today, recovering from behind to beat Catania 2-1 despite being at a numerical disadvantage. Inter, who travel to Panathinaikos in their 2008/09 UEFA Champions League opener on Tuesday, had Ghana midfielder Sulley Muntari red-carded late in the first half.
They had already fallen behind to a headed goal from Gianvito Plasmati three minutes before the break. The Nerazzurri, coached by former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, levelled two minutes from the interval when Portuguese import Ricardo Quaresma marked his debut with a deflected goal.
Muntari was then sent off after flinging an arm into the face of Giacomo Tedesco. The winning goal came on 50 minutes.
A corner came off the head of Catania's Cristian Terlizzi, hit the the inside of the far post, and fell into goalkeeper Albano Bizzarri's hands. Despite the visitors' protests, the referee and linesman both ruled the ball had crossed the line and awarded the goal.
The win put Inter, who drew their opener 1-1 with Sampdoria, on top of the table, but they will likely be overtaken when the weekend programme is completed on Sunday.
Palermo upset Roma
Roma's confidence ahead of their opening Champions League match suffered a knock when they lost 3-1 at Palermo. The defeat, coming on the back of a 1-1 draw with Napoli two weeks ago, was the worst preparation for Tuesday's meeting with Romania's Cluj.
Roma took the lead through Julio Baptista after just eight minutes following a flowing move, but they eventually paid a heavy price for being without injured captain Francesco Totti and forward Mirko Vucinic, who pulled out with a back injury just before kick-off. They were also without Philippe Mexes, Juan and Simone Perrotta, and then lost Daniele de Rossi with a neck injury later in the game.
Palermo, with new coach Davide Ballardini having replaced Stefano Colantuono, levelled through a Fabrizio Miccoli drive in the 20th minute after he was set up by Brazilian midfielder Fabio Simplicio. Miccoli added a second for Palermo in the 56th minute, with Edison Cavani scoring the third.
"We played below our capabilities at some times, while in others we did quite well without converting the chances," said Roma coach Luciano Spalletti. "."