Serie A - Inter leave it late to sink Siena

Sun, 27 Nov 15:58:00 2011

Substitute Luc Castaignos scored at the death to give Inter Milan a much needed 1-0 victory away to Siena at the Stadio Artemio Franchi.

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The 19-year-old former Feyenoord starlet produced a slick shot on the turn from Thiago Motta's assist to hand the struggling former European champions the spoils in an even and scrappy affair.

It brings them up to 14 points alongside the Tuscany side, though their inferior goal difference prevents Claudio Ranieri's men from overtaking them this weekend.

Neither side really made it out of second gear during the first half, with the game's first half-chance coming ten minutes in when Dejan Stankovic got decent power behind his low 20-yard drive, but couldn't keep it on target.

Giampaolo Pazzini headed a cross across goal into the path of Mauro Zarate, who could only nod an effort on target straight into the arms of Ziljko Brkic in the 16th minute.

Andrea Ranocchia had a pair of efforts from set pieces blocked in the minutes approaching the half hour mark, though the second chance sparked a Siena counter-attack from which Franco Brienza fired inches over the crossbar.

And complacent defending from the visitors almost gifted the lively Emanuele Calaio a chance to put his side ahead on the stroke of half-time, but his low shot under pressure from the recovering centre-backs rolled the wrong side of the far post.

Giuseppe Sannino's men came out for the second half ready to upset the Milan giants, and Calaio had a couple of early opportunities to do just that go awry.

Marcelo Larrondo felt he should have been awarded a penalty on the hour while being hounded by Walter Samuel, but was told to get up by the match official.

The away side began to finally take control of the contest after that and enjoyed decent possession, including a penalty shout of their own when Yuto Nagatomo appeared to be checked by substitute Francesco Bolzoni as the Japanese full-back surged into the area.

Brkic had to be on top form to keep out a beautiful curling free-kick from Motta with five minutes remaining, but the breakthrough would finally come in the 89th minute to deny Siena a deserved point.

Motta's ball into the danger zone was short and simple, but the turn of Castaignos was sweet enough to suddenly leave him in enough space in a crowded box to slot home the winner inside the near post.

To cap off a frustrating finish to the game for the hosts, Brienza picked up his second yellow card in stoppage time when he broke a corner flag in frustration at being dispossessed by Nagatomo just as the midfielder looked set to send in a cross in search of a late equaliser.

Liam Happe / Eurosport

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