AC Milan win title after draw at Roma

13:55, May 08, 2011      

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AC Milan clinched their first Italian Serie A title since 2003-2004 with a 0-0 draw at Roma on Saturday with two games remaining.

In doing so, the Italian giants, who have topped the standings for much of the 2010-11 season, stopped a run of five successive championships to fierce rivals Inter Milan, and wrapped up their 18th Italian top-flight triumph - level with Inter.

After watching his side end their seven-year wait for the Scudetto with a tense goalless draw at AS Roma, AC Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said that he was "madly happy" and admitted the reality of a title win in his first season in charge of the Rossoneri had yet to sink in.

"I don't think I've realized what's happened yet," he said.

Needing a point to secure their 18th league title, Allegri's side held out for a 0-0 draw that left their fans and coach on tenterhooks until the final whistle.

"The last five minutes of the game were hard to withstand," said the 43-year-old former Cagliari Calcio coach. "This is a huge satisfaction; I am madly happy and feel very lucky."

After a long winter, in which Milan had to overcome a number of injury problems and the improving fortunes of city rivals Inter, who reduced their lead to just two points, the Rossoneri raised themselves again, with a pivotal 3-0 derby success in early April.

Since then, their supremacy was never in question and by moving nine points clear of the Nerazzurri, who have three games remaining, but with an inferior record in head-to-heads, Milan can at last celebrate that long-awaited Serie A title.

"It was unexpected in a way," said veteran midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, who earned Allegri's trust after an inauspicious start under the new coach.

"The critics said that we were half-dead, too old, that we didn't have any value; but here we are again celebrating our 18th title. So, for me, this is more than just a Scudetto, this is a big victory. Last season they said that I was useless, but luckily I found the strength to work hard.

"This title is very important, especially as we have fared better than Inter, who are a great team, and Napoli, who had a great season. Yes, this is definitely a big victory," he said.

Pato, who has scored 14 league goals this season, agreed with his teammate. "This is a special day, and it's the first time that I have celebrated a Scudetto win," said the 21-year-old striker.

Defender Alessandro Nesta, 35, added: "We have been on top for virtually the whole season and we have a good lead so I think we really deserve this title, and we should give most of the credit to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva."

Saturday's result moved AC Milan nine points clear of second-placed Inter, who have three games remaining - but even if Milan were to lose their two remaining games and Inter claimed full points, Massimiliano Allegri's side have the superior head-to-head record.

Milan's top scorer this season, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, made his comeback after a three-match suspension for the Roma game, but he could not add to his tally of 14 league goals as the sides played out a 0-0 draw at Rome's Stadio Olimpico.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Palermo prepared for their Coppa Italia semi-final second-leg clash with Milan on Tuesday with a 2-1 win over the relegated Bari.

A goal from Simone Bentivoglio gave visitors Bari a surprise lead early on, but Palermo hit back through Fabrizio Miccoli and Cesare Bovo - and were good enough to hold on for the win despite a penalty miss from Miccoli after 65 minutes.

Source:Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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(Editor:黄蓓蓓)

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