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Inter Milan beats Fiorentina 2-1 in Serie A to keep alive Champions League hopes

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FLORENCE, Italy - Inter Milan won 2-1 at Fiorentina in Serie A on Saturday to keep alive its faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions League.

Inter moved five points behind fourth-place Fiorentina and eight points behind third-place Napoli, which visits relegation-threatened Sassuolo on Sunday.

"We were very good tonight, even if we created a lot of chances but still risked drawing the match," Inter coach Walter Mazzarri said. "Obviously there are so many areas we can still improve in, but I liked the football we played."

Inter took the lead in the 34th minute when Rodrigo Palacio, who earlier hit the post, chested down Fredy Guarin's pass, and right-footed it past on-rushing Fiorentina goalkeeper Neto.

Fiorentina levelled immediately after the break as a rare mistake from Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic allowed in a long-range effort from Juan Cuadrado.

Substitute Mauro Icardi scored what was to prove the winner in the 65th when he volleyed home Yuto Nagatomo's cross, although there was a suspicion of offside.

"It's a mistake, but we'll accept it," Fiorentina coach Vincenzo Montella said. "But it's the second match that we've lost at home in this way.

"The team didn't deserve to lose. With a bit more luck we could have drawn but we had too little energy."

It was Icardi's first appearance of 2014 after numerous injuries.

Fiorentina brought on Mario Gomez three minutes later for his first appearance in five months.

Gomez was Fiorentina's marquee signing when he joined in the summer from Bayern Munich for a reported 20 million euros ($26 million) but injured his left knee in a match against Cagliari on Sept. 15.

The forward almost levelled in stoppage time but was unable to get the final touch on Alessandro Matri's volley across goal.

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