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Leaders Inter rally to draw 3-3 with Roma
Updated: 2009-03-02 13:53

ROME - Teenager Mario Balotelli struck twice and Hernan Crespo scored a late equaliser as Serie A leaders Inter Milan rallied to draw 3-3 with AS Roma in a thriller at the San Siro on Sunday.

Inter Milan's Hernan Crespo celebrates after scoring against AS Roma during their Italian Serie A soccer match at the San Siro stadium in Milan March 1, 2009. [Agencies] 

First-half goals from Daniele De Rossi and John Arne Riise had Roma on top while Matteo Brighi briefly restored their two-goal advantage after Balotelli had side-footed his first goal five minutes into the second.

Balotelli, in the starting line-up as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was on the bench with a muscle problem, narrowed the gap again with a penalty in the 63rd and substitute Crespo, making a rare appearance, completed the comeback with a header in the 79th.

After 26 games Inter, who started the weekend nine in front, have 60 points, seven more than second-placed Juventus after they won 1-0 over Napoli in Turin on Saturday.

"A point is gold from a match like this," Inter coach Jose Mourinho told Sky television. "The match seemed lost at 3-1. My team deserves this point, not for the quality of play. Their character made the difference."

After being knocked out of the UEFA Cup, AC Milan's crisis deepened on Sunday with a 2-1 defeat at Sampdoria.

Antonio Cassano headed Sampdoria on their way in the 33rd and strike partner Giampaolo Pazzini stretched the lead six minutes into the second half with his fifth goal in as many games.

Milan protested furiously about Cassano's opener, arguing keeper Christian Abbiati had stopped the ball before it crossed the line, but TV replays seemed to show the referee made the right decision.

Under pressure

Alexandre Pato pulled one back 10 minutes from time and fellow Brazilian Emerson had an equaliser disallowed for offside, leaving Milan 12 points behind Inter and coach Carlo Ancelotti likely to be facing more pressure.

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