Inter wins 2-0 at Chievo for Mancini’s 1st victory
Milan, Dec 16 (AP) - Roberto Mancini recorded his first league victory back in charge at Inter Milan with a 2-0 win at 10-man Chievo Verona on Monday. Mateo Kovacic and Andrea Ranocchia scored for Inter, which had goalkeeper Samir Handanovic to thank for several crucial saves. "It's an important victory against a Chievo side which plays well," Mancini said. "We didn't concede, I'm satisfied. It went well. The lads are putting into practice in the match what we are working on in training, that's good." Chievo midfielder Ruben Botta - who is on loan from Inter - was sent off for dissent 18 minutes from time. Inter moved into 11th spot with its first win in six matches, while Chievo, which was undefeated in five, slipped to 17th, a point off the relegation zone. Torino leapfrogged Chievo with a 0-0 draw at Empoli in a relegation battle which the home side dominated. Inter had lost twice and drawn once since Mancini replaced the sacked Walter Mazzarri last month. Chievo started brightly and almost took an early lead but Handanovic did well to stop Alberto Paloschi's header from point-blank range. Inter went ahead in the 19th minute when Mauro Icardi headed down Yuto Nagatomo's cross and the Chievo defense failed to clear, allowing Kovacic to fire home. Chievo almost leveled in spectacular fashion, but Handanovic was alert again, diving smartly to his left to keep out Riccardo Meggiorini's overhead kick. The Inter goalkeeper went close to gifting Chievo the equalizer, however, as he misjudged Gennaro Sardo's cross but it crashed off the woodwork and out to safety off Bostjan Cesar's face. Chievo again went close immediately after the interval when Paloschi's effort went inches wide of the right upright. Inter doubled its advantage in the 55th when Ranocchia slotted Danilo D'Ambrosio's cross into the bottom left corner. Botta lasted just 10 minutes against his parent club as he was booked for jumping with an arm on Zdravko Kuzmanovic, and then shown a second card immediately after for his protests. Earlier, promoted side Empoli stretched its unbeaten run to five Serie A matches. Empoli, which was two points above Torino, almost took an early lead but Matias Vecino sent a 30-yard effort just wide of the top corner and Simone Verdi's free kick was palmed round the upright by Jean-Francois Gillet. Empoli had Torino pegged back in its own half for much of the second period but Gillet was in fine form. Torino defender Pontus Jansson was sent off after a second booking in the final minute.