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Kaladze strike gives Milan derby victory

Written by: Staff

MILAN, Apr 14 (Reuters) A 70th minute strike by Georgian defender Kakha Kaladze gave AC Milan a 1-0 derby win over city rivals Inter in Serie A today.

The victory takes Milan within four points of leaders Juventus, who visit Cagliari tomorrow, while third-placed Inter are now five points adrift of Milan.

There are four rounds of matches to be played after this weekend's fixtures.

Milan's Alberto Gilardino and Inter's Luis Figo missed good chances as they sent headers wide from promising positions but neither team looked sharp going forward in a rather flat game.

The decisive goal came when Milan's Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf looped in a high cross from the left and with the Inter defence stationary Kaladze chested the ball down and blasted past Inter keeper Julio Cesar.

Milan face Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final at the San Siro on Tuesday.

Despite a 74,000 crowd there was an unusually subdued atmosphere in the San Siro, largely due to a boycott by Inter fans who left their section of the north stand largely empty.

The 'ultras' were protesting against a disappointing season and in place of the colourful flags that normally fill their sector, banners criticising the team were displayed in front of empty seating.

TROUBLES WEEK The derby came at the end of a troubled week for Inter.

In the early hours of Sunday morning two players -- captain Javier Zanetti and midfielder Cristiano Zanetti -- were attacked by fans at Milan's Malpensa airport.

Then yesterday Inter owner Massimo Moratti, who has been in charge of the club since 1995, said he was ready to listen to offers from potential buyers.

It took only 10 minutes for more bad news to reach Inter coach Roberto Mancini when Serbian defender Sinisa Mihajlovic limped off with a muscle problem and was replaced by Marco Materazzi.

Gilardino should have put Milan ahead in the 16th minute when Cafu chipped a cross to him in the area but the Italy striker's diving header was embarrassingly wide.

After the break Seedorf had a low shot blocked by the feet of Julio Cesar and on the hour Inter's best chance was wasted by Figo, who was picked out by Dejan Stankovic but produced a poor header that went harmlessly wide.

Milan rarely looked in trouble after Kaladze's goal as they took revenge for a 3-2 defeat by Inter earlier this season.


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