Inter Milan beat Palermo 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico here on Sunday to lift the Italian Cup and rescue an otherwise disappointing season.
Samuel Eto’o was the hero for Inter, scoring a brace and taking his season’s tally for the club to 37 goals in all competitions, beating his previous best total at Barcelona by one goal.
“In football the important thing is to win and without the victory my record wouldn’t have been as sweet,” said the Cameroon captain.
For Inter boss Leonardo it was his first trophy as a coach.
“It’s a huge satisfaction in an entertaining year, with many changes, for me and for Inter,” said the Brazilian.
“Being able to finish the last game of the season with two trophies is fantastic,” he added referring to the Club World Cup, won in December under his predecessor Rafael Benitez.
Ezequiel Munoz briefly gave Palermo hope late on, although he was subsequently sent off, before Diego Milito sealed the victory in injury time.
“We had a go but it wasn’t enough, the more experienced side won,” said Palermo coach Delio Rossi, who was also dismissed in the finale for venting his fury.
Palermo midfielder Giulio Migliaccio added: “We can hold our heads up, we played well but they have great players.
“But we brought 50,000 fans from Palermo and that’s also a reason to be proud.”
The game got under way despite a Greepeace protest that saw two abseilers hanging from the rafters where they had hung a political banner.
Palermo had the better start as Abel Hernandez fired into the side-netting in the first minute.
Their best chance came on 18 minutes as Javier Pastore and Josip Ilicic played a one-two but the Argentine’s touch was too heavy and Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar came out to smother.
Pastore then shot over but Inter scored from their first attack with a lightning counter-attack after Palermo’s Nigerian midfielder Afriyie Acquah lost the ball in midfielder under pressure from Thiago Motta.
The ball broke to Wesley Sneijder who quickly played it inside full-back Mattia Cassani and Eto’o latched onto the ball at pace to slide it past Salvatore Sirigu.
That took the sting out of Palermo and Inter came closer to scoring again before the break when Sneijder fired a free-kick over.
However, the Sicilians were back on the front foot after the restart and substitute Fabrizio Miccoli brought a fine save out of Cesar on the hour mark with a flash header from a right-wing cross.
Dejan Stankovic threw himself in front of a Hernandez shot and Inter also survived a frantic goalmouth scramble after Ilicic’s clever backheel put Cassani behind the backline and his cross caused panic in the box.
Hernandez then turned Andrea Ranocchia inside the box but Cristian Chivu got back to make a goal-saving tackle.
But as they pushed forward for an equaliser, Palermo left themselves vulnerable at the back and another ball lost in midfield, when Sneijder robbed Migliaccio, saw the the Dutchman slip in Eto’o again to fire across Sirigu and settle the game 14 minutes from time.
It could have been worse still for the game Sicilians as Sirigu pulled off a diving save to deny the excellent Sneijder four minutes from time.
But two minutes later Munoz was left totally free at the back post to head home Miccoli’s corner without an Inter defender within touching distance to set up a grandstand finish.
In a crazy finish, Munoz was wrongly sent off after winning the ball against McDonald Mariga, the referee deeming it a foul, and Eto’o crashed the resulting free-kick against the bar.
Then in injury time Goran Pandev teed up Milito to snatch the third.
- Everton new boy Asmir Begovic the hero as he scores in penalty shootout then saves keeper’s spot-kick to win Florida Cup
- Chelsea win FA Cup with victory over Man United
- Inter Miami Tied Philadelphia Union 1-1
- Revolution Hand Inter Miami 6th Straight Loss, 5-0
- Vietnam aim to grab second World Cup slot in Futsal
- Former champ Teichmann withdraws from Palermo Ladies Open
- Socios.com Replaces Pirelli As Front-Jersey Sponsor Of Serie A Champions Inter Milan
- Football: Inter join Arsenal in withdrawing from US tour due to COVID-19 concerns
- Romelu Lukaku looks ripped in topless workout as he prepares for new season
- Back To Back Champs: Penguins Beat Preds 2-0 For Stanley Cup
- Arsenal make Lautaro Martinez transfer inquiry as the Premier League club plot ambitious move for Inter Milan star
- Inter end long wait for Serie A title - and four ex-Man Utd stars helped secure glory
- Transfer news: Hakimi to Chelsea, Emerson to Inter Milan
- Euro 2020: How Italian fans celebrated the Azzurri win over England, Watch video
- Romelu Lukaku explains his Inter Milan transfer stance amid Chelsea interest
- Bruno Fernandes: Manchester United midfielder says winning Europa League is 'not enough' for the club
- Five strikers Chelsea could sign after Romelu Lukaku decides to stay at Inter Milan
- Everton jet to Florida Cup under cloud of uncertainty as Rafa Benitez’s turbulent start to Toffees reign goes on
- Jose Mourinho reminisces over Liverpool win by using Steven Gerrard picture
- Football: Lukaku hopes for 'even more' with Serie A champions Inter next season
Inter beat Palermo to win Italian Cup, save season have 863 words, post on at May 30, 2011. This is cached page on TechNews. If you want remove this page, please contact us.