Tue, May 08, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Milan lose to hand Juventus title

BACK ON TOP:Juventus clinched their first ‘scudetto’ since 2003 after a 2-0 win over Cagliari as title rivals AC Milan lost a bad-tempered derby 4-2 to archrivals Inter


Mirko Vucinic of Juventus, right, scores past Cagliari goalkeeper Michael Agazzi in their Serie A match at the Stadio Nereo Rocco in Trieste, Italy, on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Juventus won Serie A for the first time since the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal on Sunday, clinching the title with a 2-0 win at Cagliari as AC Milan lost 4-2 to archrivals Inter in a stormy derby.

Diego Milito scored a hat-trick, including two penalties, for Inter, who hit back after falling 2-1 behind early in the second half, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic claimed both Milan goals, the first a highly controversial penalty.

Mirko Vucinic set Juventus on their way in Trieste, Cagliari’s adopted home for the remainder of this season, with a fifth-minute goal and Michele Canini put through his own net in the 74th minute.

There were chaotic scenes at the end as Juventus fans invaded the pitch to join the celebrations for a record 28th title, achieved in their first season under coach Antonio Conte.

The Sardinians have been forced to play their home games in Trieste, 800km from Cagliari on the Italian mainland, because of safety problems at the intimidating Stadio Sant’Elia.

Juventus, still unbeaten after 37 matches, have 81 points, four clear of Milan, the defending champions.

They last won Serie A in 2003, having been stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles over the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.

Juventus got off to a dream start when Vucinic sprang the Cagliari offside trap to run onto Leonardo Bonucci’s pass and score with an angled shot after five minutes.

Canini’s misfortune, when he inadvertently turned the ball into his own net attempting to get to Martin Caceres’ cross before Marco Boriello, meant that all eyes were on the San Siro, where Milan had to win to stay in the hunt.

They made a dreadful start as their defense froze at a free-kick, allowing Walter Samuel to ghost in and knock the ball into the path of Milito, who scored from close range in the 14th minute.

Inter had claims for a second goal when Esteban Cambiasso’s effort was scrambled away by goalkeeper Christian Abbiati amid suspicions that the ball may have crossed the line.

Abbiati was injured in the incident and replaced by Marco Amelia, but it was Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar who found himself in the spotlight.

The Brazilian conceded a penalty a minute before halftime when he was judged to have tripped Kevin-Prince Boateng as he dived at the Ghanaian’s feet, though replays clearly showed he got his hand to the ball first.

Julio Cesar attempted to distract penalty-taker Ibrahimovic by sticking out his tongue, but the Swede took no notice and calmly fired the ball into the corner.

Ibrahimovic struck again in the first minute after the restart when he collected the ball on the edge of the area following a clever Boateng dummy, got free of the Inter defense and nonchalantly chipped the ball over Julio Cesar for his 28th goal of the season.

Wesley Sneijder nearly caught Amelia with an outrageous lob, before Inter equalized in the 52nd minute, Milito scoring from a penalty he won himself after being pushed in the area by Ignazio Abete.

Milito put Inter ahead from another penalty, awarded for handball by Alessandro Nesta, who angrily claimed it was accidental, in the 79th minute, before a thunderbolt by Maicon completed the scoring.

Milan are already sure of the runners-up spot and a place in the Champions League group stage, while the race for third place, which earns a spot in the final qualifying round, took another twist as Napoli slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Bologna.

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