MILAN - AC Milan won Serie A for the first
time in seven years on Saturday as an insipid goalless draw at
AS Roma clinched the title with two games to spare and finally
ended Inter Milan's long stranglehold on the scudetto.
Milan, in their first season under coach Massimiliano
Allegri, took an unassailable nine-point lead over bitter rivals
Inter, champions for the last five seasons and the only team who
could catch them before the start of the weekend.
It was Milan's 18th Serie A title, pulling them level with
Inter, although they are still nine behind Juventus.
"They gave us up for dead and they thought I was finished,"
midfielder Gennaro Gattuso told reporters as his team mates
celebrated on the pitch at the Stadio Olimpico.
"Allegri deserves a mark of 10, he has been the architect of
this success, he has kept the squad closely-knit."
Unheralded Allegri, who until 2008 plied his trade in the
lower divisions, was appointed in June after previous club
Cagliari sacked him for talking to Milan.
"It's a beautiful moment which has arrived after seven
years," added 35-year-old Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who
was at the club in 2004 but will be out of contract at the end
of the season.
"This squad will improve a lot after this win."
Milan, who lost to Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League
last 16, have not been especially sparkling this term in what
has generally been a weak Serie A but they have done enough
thanks to the early season goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a
Inter struggled at the start of the campaign with injuries
and Rafa Benitez was sacked as coach in December after failing
to fill the large shoes of Jose Mourinho, who led Inter to a
treble last term before heading to Real Madrid.
A generally dire first half saw Milan passing the ball
sideways and backwards while eight or nine Roma players
protected their own penalty area.
Roma had the better chances on their occasional forays
forward with Mirko Vucinic forcing a point-blank save from
goalkeeper Christian Abbiati.
Alessandro Nesta also made a crucial clearance with the
Montenegrin lurking behind him before Aleandro Rosi forced
Abbiati into action again.
Milan, with Ibrahimovic returning from a three-match
suspension, made a livelier start to the second half and Robinho
hit the post almost immediately having shaken off Marco
Kevin-Prince Boateng flicked the ball agonisingly wide on
the hour after being sent clear by Ibrahimovic, who shortly
afterwards had a fierce effort parried away by Doni.
Despite chasing a place in the Champions League, Roma looked
more than happy to settle for a draw.
Europa League hopefuls Palermo beat relegated Bari 2-1 in
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