Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Italy

Antonio Cassano © Action Images

Inter's lament the loudest in Serie A



Serie A giants Inter Milan were left among the league's biggest losers after a final, dramatic day of action caused a number of surprises in Italy's top flight.

Juventus, as widely expected, dominated the campaign to defend the title and claim a 29th Scudetto, while Napoli's runner-up spot secured the league's second automatic place in the Champions League.

The battle for third and the final place in Europe's premier club competition, via a preliminary round, went down to the wire but was snatched by AC Milan, who finished two points ahead of Fiorentina after a controversial penalty award in a decisive 2-1 win away to Siena.

Failing to qualify for the Champions League – and a first appearance since 2009-2010 – was all the more painful for Fiorentina given their 5-1 win away to relegated Pescara.

Milan, as Fiorentina later complained, were only handed a lifeline after Siena's Dias Felipe tugged at Mario Balotelli's shirt.

The striker won the penalty, got up to level from the spot and three minutes later French defender Phillipe Mexes bundled home Milan's winner to save their season and break Fiorentina's hearts.

"It was disappointing for our dream to end like that. We have regrets, especially when you see Milan were gifted a penalty," said Fiorentina midfielder Manuel Pasqua.

Whether Milan's Houdini-like escape is enough to save Massimiliano Allegri's coaching job at the San Siro remains to be seen.

Following a huge summer clear-out at the club, the Italian did well to drag Milan back from the abyss of their worst ever start to a Serie A campaign but question marks remain over his future.

Yet Allegri's woes were nothing compared to those of Inter Milan coach Andrea Stramaccioni.

With 16 wins and as many defeats after 38 games, Inter endured a humiliating finale in the shape of a 5-2 defeat at home to Udinese.

Udinese's win was motivated by their bid to hold on to fifth and claim an automatic Europa League spot, but Inter had little left to play for.

The Nerazzurri fell out of contention for Europe last month but have been decimated by injuries to key players, such as Diego Milito, Rodrigo Palacio and Japan fullback Yuto Nagatomo.

"That's been the cause of lots of our problems and as seasons go it's been pretty cursed," said Nagatomo, who only just returned to the fray following problems with his knee.

Fans had demonstrated their frustration at the San Siro on Sunday where the hard-core Curva Nord (North Stand) unveiled a banner which read: "We want a club with serious plans. We won't put up with another season like this."

The message was clear but it may take a while to get through. Inter were 1-0 down in the first minute to a Giampiero Pinzi goal and by the hour mark were 4-1 in arrears.

In the end, Inter – the last Italian club to win the Champions League, in 2010 under Jose Mourinho – finished ninth on 54 points, 33 behind Juventus.

Stramaccioni's straight-talking manner at the start of the season, when Inter were among the frontrunners, led to comparisons with Mourinho.

He is only 37 years old and despite still being without his official coaching licence is believed to have the support of club president Massimo Moratti.

If he does hold on to his job, fans will expect a far more consistent performance from Inter and Stramaccioni is confident they can bounce back.

"I think Moratti has very clear ideas about how to rebuild and from tomorrow he'll be working on that," said the coach.

"The most important thing we can do now is turn the page on a very negative season in which all sorts of things have happened."

Lazio's final game of the season was also a disappointment, a 1-0 defeat to Cagliari which dropped them to seventh, one place behind city rivals Roma.

For both clubs, their Italian Cup final next week carries extra importance, with the winner securing a coveted place in the Europa League.

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R161.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls
R219.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk



John Dykes
A Gooner or a gonner?
An International Break can do funny things to the mind. Mine, for instance was heavily engaged this...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Why can’t soccer be like rugby?
Sport is supposed to be sport; something we all do for the love of it, for recreational purposes,...

Neil Tovey
Backing Coetzee for Bafana
After three Afcon 2015 qualifiers, Bafana Bafana deserve credit for keeping as many clean sheets...

Carol Radull
Let's criticise to improve Kenyan football
Sometimes my fellow Kenyans make me angry. We are the kings of Africa when it comes to criticism,...

Mutheliso Phiri
Can the Chipolopolo afford not to win?
Zambia, by recording a goalless draw against Niger in Niamey, kept alive their hopes of qualifying...

Segun Odegbami
So far, so Chelsea
There are two things on my mind this weekend – the Barclays Premier League and Nigeria’s match...