Inter beat Palermo 3-1 at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome on Sunday to lift the Coppa Italia and rescue an otherwise disappointing season.
It was Inter’s fourth Coppa success in the last seven years and Palermo’s third defeat in as many trips to the final.
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,” the Cameroon captain said.
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,” the Brazilian said.
“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 stoppage-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. However, we brought 50,000 fans from Palermo and that’s also a reason to be proud.”
The game got under way despite a Greenpeace protest that saw two people abseil and hang 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 when 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 counterattack after Palermo’s Nigerian midfielder Afriyie Acquah lost the ball in midfield under pressure from Thiago Motta. The ball broke to Wesley Sneijder, who quickly played it inside fullback 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 close 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 back-heel put Cassani behind the defense 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.
However, as they pushed forward for an equalizer, 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 Sicilians when 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.