Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Roma beat Inter to retain Italian Cup

AFP , ROME

Roma captain Francesco Totti lifts the Italian Cup after their victory over Internazionale in Saturday’s final at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

PHOTO: EPA

AS Roma retained the Italian Cup after a 2-1 victory over Champions Inter Milan at the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday to gain revenge for their defeat in the Serie A title race.

Goals from French center-back Philippe Mexes and Italy midfielder Simone Perrotta sealed a ninth cup success, making them the most successful team in Italian cup history, alongside Juventus.

Inter substitute Vitor Pele scored a goal that even his more illustrious namesake — the Brazilian legend who won three World Cups — would have been proud of with a stunning 30m volley into the top corner that left Roma’s Brazilian goalkeeper Doni rooted to the spot.

The two sides have contested the last four cup finals and Roma squared the recent mini-series following Inter’s victories in 2005 and 2006.

Despite missing the game injured, Roma club captain Francesco Totti went up to receive the silverware from Italian President Giorgio Napolitano.

Roma were clearly the more hyped of the teams from the off as they looked to make up for last weekend’s Scudetto disappointment.

Inter had the first shot on target through midfielder Dejan Stankovic but most of the action happened at the other end of the field.

French winger Ludovic Giuly was wildly off target when well placed and Perrotta had a shot blocked by center-back Cristian Chivu.

But Roma took the lead on 35 minutes through a clever corner routine that caught Inter napping. Chile midfielder David Pizarro crossed to the near post and Mexes timed his run perfectly before flicking the ball into the roof of the net.

At this point Inter — who were being cheered on by just a few thousand of their fans, leaving an entire end almost empty in the stadium — seemed barely interested. And they fell two behind just after the restart as Perrotta ran at the heart of a defense that was backing off and played a one-two with Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic before slotting into an empty goal with Inter’s veteran goalkeeper Francesco Toldo drawn out of position.

Inter were furious as they thought midfielder Cesar had been fouled in the build up. That finally sparked them into life and Portuguese midfielder Pele’s thunderbolt got them right back in the match.

Inter almost equalized moments later but Nicolas Burdisso’s header came back off the post.

Inter threw everything but the kitchen sink at Roma after that but created nothing to suggest they might score.

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