Inter battle past Cesena
Inter Milan maintained their late charge for a UEFA Champions League berth with a battling 2-1 win at home to relegated Cesena this afternoon.
Inter recovered from the shock of going behind to a Luca Ceccarelli strike to rally for their fourth win in six league matches since Andrea Stramaccioni replaced Claudio Ranieri as coach. Goals from Joel Obi and Mauro Zarate sealed the points for the hosts, who are now level on 55 points with Napoli, who held the final Champions League berth heading into the weekend's Serie A fixtures.
The hosts bossed the opening 45 minutes, with Freddy Guarin the first to go close after seven minutes when he forced Francesco Antonioli into action with a low drive.
Antonioli denied Yuto Nagatomo on 14 minutes, while Wesley Sneijder fired a free-kick just over the crossbar on the half-hour as bottom side Cesena, whose relegation was confirmed following their defeat to Juventus in midweek, struggled to get into the match.
Maicon headed over, while Sneijder and Lucio were both denied by Antonioli before the break as the hosts did everything but score in the opening period.
The opening goal did come on 57 minutes, but surprisingly it was Cesena who were left celebrating after their first real chance of the match, Guillermo Rodrigues teeing up Ceccarelli whose shot took a touch off Nagatomo on its way into the net.
The lead lasted just two minutes and again a deflection proved crucial, Obi's strike from Ricardo Alvarez deflecting off Steve von Bergen and foxing Antonioli. Stramaccioni then shuffled his pack, bringing on Diego Milito and Zarate for Giampaolo Pazzini and Alvarez, and the pair were soon making their impact felt as the hosts pushed for a winner.
The goal the San Siro was desperate to roar about duly arrived on 72 minutes, Guarin the provider with a cross for Zarate who headed home powerfully into the roof of the net.