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.
R152.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
FIFA 14
Xbox 360
R549.00
Mitre Ultimatch Soccer Ball - White
A high quality football, offering high performance at both training and during football matches.
R252.00


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
Copa BPL is the way to go
Monday night’s game at the KC Stadium provided another reminder that 2014/2015 could well turn out...

Gary Al-Smith
What Appiah's axing say about Africans
Ghana boss Kwesi Appiah knew he would be sacked. He did not expect it to be so messy though.

Claudia Ekai
How the mighty fell
African football history tells many stories of the rise and fall of stars that once had the world...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Nigerian football farce
Anyone in Africa who follows football is aware of the farce that has been going on in the football...

Emeka Enyadike
Shakes, Big Boss and Cape of Good Hope
When South Africa and Nigeria meet tonight in Cape Town, one word will dominate the thoughts of...

Neil Tovey
The value of Vilakazi
With Sibusiso Vilakazi having coming off the bench to score a brace for Bafana Bafana against...