MILAN, Italy - Defending champion Juventus celebrated coach Antonio Conte's return with a win, beating Palermo 1-0 in Serie A yesterday. Stephan Lichtsteiner scored five minutes into the second-half for Juventus, which also hit the goal-frame twice through Mirko Vucinic. Palermo had a first-half strike from Fabrizio Miccoli ruled out for offside and also had Michel Morganella sent off 15 minutes from time after picking up his second yellow card. It was Conte's first match back on the bench after serving a four-month ban for failing to report match-fixing when he coached Siena two seasons ago.
Berlin - Bayer Leverkusen crashed 3-2 at Hanover yesterday to complete a terrible Bundesliga round for all rivals of runaway leaders Bayern Munich. Szabolcs Huszti converted two penalties and Mame Dioud got the other for Hanover as Leverkusen suffered their first defeat in a month. Second-placed Leverkusen slipped 11 points behind Munich, who won 2-0 in Augsburg yesterday. Munich have 41 points, Leverkusen 30, champions Borussia Dortmund (and Eintracht Frankfurt) 27, Schalke (and VfB Stuttgart) 25. Dortmund lost 3-2 at home against Wolfsburg after Marcel Schmelzer was wrongly sent off, and Schalke were beaten 3-1 in Stuttgart.
Milan move up
MILAN - Inter Milan moved up to second and closed the gap to Juventus to four points in Serie A yesterday thanks to a clinical but hard-fought 2-1 win over fellow title chasers Napoli. A pair of goals from south Americans Fredy Guarin and Diego Milito settled Inter's nerves before half-time and despite Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani reducing the arrears just before the hour the visitors failed to pull level in a tighter second-half. With the players still warming up in freezing temperatures at the San Siro, the roof was raised when Guarin ghosted in at the back in the eighth minute to volley Antonio Cassano's curling corner past a helpless Morgan De Sanctis.