Inter back on track after Stankovic hat-trick
A hat-trick by Inter Milan's veteran Serbian midfielder Dejan Stankovic saw the champions to a welcome 5-2 victory over Parma on Sunday and ended a run of four Serie matches without a win.
Inter had given coach Rafael Benitez some breathing space in squeezing through to the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek when, had they been defeated by Dutch side Twente, many believed the Spanish handler would have been facing the sack.
However, Stankovic's treble and goals from Argentinian Esteban Cambiasso—who had scored the only goal against Twente—and Thiago Motta saw them to an easy three points against Parma, for whom veteran Argentinian Hernan Crespo bagged a double.
Inter are still seven points adrift of bitter city rivals and leaders AC Milan, who drew 1-1 with Sampdoria on Saturday.
Lazio can pull to within a point of AC Milan if they beat Catania at home later on Sunday.
Former Inter star Crespo gave Parma a fourth minute lead but Inter levelled through Stankovic's first and were quickly 3-1 up as the 32-year-old Serb, who has been at Inter since 2004, was set up by Frenchman Jonathan Biabiany as he had been for his first goal.
Cambiasso scored the third before his compatriot Crespo benefited from a dreadful error by veteran Italian central defender Marco Materazzi, who is in for the long-term injury victim Walter Samuel, to reduce the deficit.
Motta and Stankovic rammed home Inter's superiority with further goals in the second-half to leave Parma just four points above the drop zone.