Three sent off in Rome derby thriller

ROME - Serie A leaders Inter Milan were held 2-2 at home by Palermo on Saturday after blowing a two-goal cushion, while Lazio beat AS Roma 4-2 in a thrilling derby with three sendings-off. Palermo's Edinson Cavani and Davide Succi struck within two minutes of each other in the second half to level after a Mario Balotelli header and a soft Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty had put the champions in charge. "The first half was one of the best we've played at the San Siro, we could have scored more," Inter coach Jose Mourinho told Sky television. "The second was completely different. Maybe we mistakenly thought the game was over. "After being two up it's a result that has the taste of a defeat. But it's a point. That's how the championship goes." AC Milan won 1-0 at Chievo Verona to consolidate third place thanks to Clarence Seedorf's 53rd-minute strike from the edge of the area after a sweet lay-off by Filippo Inzaghi. Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti, who left David Beckham on the bench for a second week, was ejected from the dugout in the 37th minute for dissent. Fiorentina beat Cagliari 2-1 at home to move one point above Genoa and take provisional control of Italy's fourth Champions League slot. Inter looked to be cruising in the first half at the San Siro, creating an array of chances. Teenage striker Balotelli nodded in a Sulley Muntari cross in the 15th with the Palermo defence immobile. Ibrahimovic doubled the lead six minutes before halftime with a penalty after the Swede went down under a challenge from Simon Kjaer. IMPRESSIVE START But Cavani and substitute Succi took advantage as Inter relaxed in after the break. Lazio made an impressive start at the Stadio Olimpico, with Goran Pandev volleying home and his strike partner Mauro Zarate curling a shot into the corner from outside the box to put them 2-0 up within four minutes. Roma responded well and defender Philippe Mexes pulled one back from short range in the 10th minute only for Stephan Lichtsteiner to hit back for Lazio just before the hour mark. Roma's Christian Panucci was sent off shortly after that for a second yellow card while Mexes and Lazio midfielder Matuzalem also went after a tussle. Daniele De Rossi reignited Roma's hopes with a header but Aleksandar Kolarov finished off a counter-attack five minutes from time to extinguish them and help Lazio end a run of three defeats in style. A minute's silence was observed and the players wore black armbands in mourning for the victims Monday's earthquake in Abruzzo, while receipts from some matches were donated to disaster funds and fans displayed messages of solidarity.