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Inter Milan crowns Italian title with 3-0 win

NEWLY-CROWNED champion Inter Milan provided the display its fans wanted by beating Siena 3-0 at the San Siro yesterday.

AC Milan's 2-1 loss to Udinese on Saturday night ensured Inter would begin the match with the title already won, but goals from Esteban Cambiasso, Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave the supporters a result to celebrate.

"The guys played a great game," coach Jose Mourinho said. "Everything was perfect. We always work hard and this is our strength."

The title is Inter's fourth consecutive championship and 17th in total.

"It is better than the others," captain Javier Zanetti said. "It is great because it is not every team that wins four in a row.

"We have a great rapport with the boss. We have never hidden the fact that we wanted to win this title and had the force to show that we could."

With Siena safe from relegation and out of contention for Europe, there was a carnival feel to events, but it took Inter till just before halftime to open the scoring.

Balotelli swung over a freekick, Siena failed to clear adequately and when Gianluca Curci could only parry Dejan Stankovic's shot, Cambiasso slotted home the rebound.

Luis Figo then picked out Balotelli and the 18-year-old ran beyond the Siena defense, rounded Curci and tapped into the empty net.

Siena then hit post through Emanuele Calaio, but Ibrahimovic put the result beyond doubt with his 22nd league goal of the season.

"They showed great strength and intelligence which gives them the edge," Siena coach Marco Giampaolo said. "They definitely showed why they are the best."

Earlier in the day attention was on the teams at the bottom of the table.

Goals in the second half from Rolando Bianchi and Alessandro Rosina gave Torino a 2-1 victory over Napoli after Pia had put his side ahead in the first half.

Bottom side Reggina gave its fans hope of clambering out of the relegation places with a 2-1 win at home to Cagliari, whilst Bologna midfielder Sergio Volpi scored a late goal to send Lecce bottom with a 2-1 win.

Torino is 17th with 34 points, Bologna 18th on 33, Reggina 19th on 30 and Lecce bottom with 29.

"We knew we would have to suffer because Napoli at home is a difficult match," Torino coach Giancarlo Camolese said. "We knew it would be physical, but we did well to come back and then score the winner.

"We are at the end of the season and everyone feels tired, despite all the physical preparation work we have done."

Napoli went into the lead when German Denis played in Pia to score. Rolando Bianchi brought Torino level two minutes into the second half and Antonio Rosina secured all three points for his side when he curled in a free kick in the 72nd minute.

At the top end of the table, Torino's city rival Juventus failed to take advantage of second-place AC Milan's loss to Udinese on Saturday night, drawing 2-2 at home to Atalanta.

Inter has 81 points, Milan has 71 and Juventus is on 68, with Fiorentina just a point behind.

Should Juventus swap places with Cesare Prandelli's team it would mean the Turin side would have to play in the Champions League qualification rounds.

"We've still got two games to go and six points to play for," Ranieri said. "We played a great match last week (against AC Milan) and couldn't repeat it today."

The match was played in an empty stadium as punishment for Juventus fans racially abusing Inter striker Balotelli, who is of Ghanaian descent.

"It was strange playing in front of no fans," Ranieri said.

Luca Cigarini scored for Atalanta after two minutes, when his shot deflected off defender Nicola Legrottaglie and left Juventus keeper Gianluigi Buffon wrong-footed.

Vincenczo Iaquinta kept up his good recent form to equalize with a header and Cristian Zanetti put Juventus ahead in the 36th with a long-range strike.

The lead didn't even last till halftime, with Maximiliano Pellegrino heading home before the whistle.

Also yesterday, it was: Fiorentina 1, Sampdoria 0; Genoa 2, Chievo Verona 2; and Palermo 2, Lazio 0.


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