Napoli, Inter lose as Milan down Palermo

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ROME — Napoli missed the chance to top Serie A after a shock 2-1 home defeat by Parma on Saturday as champions AC Milan hit form with a 3-0 win over Palermo and Inter Milan lost at Catania.

Parma’s Francesco Modesto struck the winner against Napoli eight minutes from time after Napoli’s Giuseppe Mascara had equalised following Massimo Gobbi’s 57th-minute opener.

Milan’s Antonio Nocerino, scoring against his former club, Robinho and Antonio Cassano were all on target as Milan cruised past a disappointing Palermo.

Napoli remain a point behind leaders Juventus, who visited Chievo Verona late yesterday, with 10 points. Parma are a further point back and 11th placed Milan are three points off top spot.

Earlier, Inter suffered their fourth loss in their six Serie A matches this season, going down 2-1 at Catania.

Napoli, who host Bayern Munich in the Champions League tomorrow, looked a pale shadow of the side that had stormed the San Siro two weeks ago in defeating Inter Milan 3-0.

After a lacklustre first half Massimo Gobbi put Parma ahead just before the hour mark, swapping passes with Stefano Floccari before slotting the ball past Morgan De Sanctis.

Napoli, who had created little against a well-organised Parma side, equalised with 15 minutes to go when substitute Giuseppe Mascara slipped the ball under goalkeeper Antonio Mirante after a brilliant flicked pass from Ezequiel Lavezzi.

But Parma silenced the San Paolo faithful with eight minutes left when Modesto tapped in Sebastian Giovinco’s enticing cross after a fast counter attack.

Napoli coach Walter Mazzarri felt his players lacked sharpness after returning from international duty.

“Parma played a strong, defensive game,” he told Italy’s Sky Sport channel. “They looked much fresher. The referee didn’t help either by blowing up all the time and breaking our flow.

Milan welcomed back the fit-again Robinho allowing coach Massimiliano Allegri to play the attacking trident that hit it off so well last season with the Brazilian playing just behind Swede Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Italian Antonio Cassano.