MILAN - Inter beat Siena 2-0 at the Giuseppe Meazza on Sunday afternoon thanks to first-half goals from Julio Cruz (pen) and Christian Vieri. The result puts Mancini's men six points clear of fourth-placed sides Sampdoria and Udinese.
Julio Cruz gave Inter a dream start after Obafemi Martins was brought down in the box by Manninger in the opening minute. El Jardinero sent the Siena keeper the wrong way from the spot and found the bottom left-hand corner to register his third goal in as many games, and ninth of the season.
Unable to continue after sustaining a thigh knock midway through the first half, Cruz was replaced by Christian Vieri on 24 minutes. And it took Bobogol just seven minutes to make an impact on the game, his far post header from Kily's excellent left-wing cross giving the Nerazzurri a 2-0 lead.
Majestic approach play by Juan Veron created numerous chances for Obafemi Martins to increase Inter's lead in the second half, but the Nigerian failed to capitalise. Oba went close again on 71 minutes but found the side-netting after dribbling three opponents.
On a positive note, Brazilian forward Adriano came on for the last ten minutes to make his return to competitive action after the back problem suffered in the Champions League quarter-final return leg against Milan.
INTER 2-0 SIENA (HT: 2-0)
Scorers: Cruz (pen) 2, Vieri 31
INTER: 1 Toldo, 2 Cordoba, 4 J.Zanetti, 9 Cruz (32 Vieri 24), 11 Mihajlovic, 14 Veron (25 Stankovic 76), 16 Favalli, 18 Kily Gonzalez, 19 Cambiasso, 21 Karagounis, 30 Martins (10 Adriano 81)
Subs not used: 15 Carini, 8 Davids, 23 Materazzi, 24 Gamarra
Coach: Roberto Mancini
SIENA: 1 Manninger, 5 Cirillo (35 Cozza 61), 6 Vergassola, 7 Tudor, 10 Chiesa (22 Ardito 72), 11 Alberto, 19 Di Donato (32 Maccarone 46), 21 Taddei, 30 Pasquale, 33 Colonnese, 90 Portanova
Subs not used: 14 Fortin, 3 Falsini, 8 Argilli, 18 Foglio
Coach: Luigi De Canio
Referee: Paolo Dondarini (Finale Emilia)