AC hands title to city rivals on platter

DÉJÀ VU: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho wins the league title in his first season with a club for the second time. 16/05/09. Pic. Antonio Calanni, © AP.
DÉJÀ VU: Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho wins the league title in his first season with a club for the second time. 16/05/09. Pic. Antonio Calanni, © AP.

ROME - Inter Milan won a fourth straight Serie A title on Saturday despite not playing when nearest challengers AC Milan lost 2-1 at Udinese.

ROME - Inter Milan won a fourth straight Serie A title on Saturday despite not playing when nearest challengers AC Milan lost 2-1 at Udinese.

Second-placed Milan trail Inter, who host Siena on Sunday, by seven points but have only two matches left.

Milan's defeat meant Inter boss Jose Mourinho has won the scudetto in his first season in Italian football after joining last June.

Mourinho has now won five titles in seven years in three different countries - in Portugal with Porto in 2003 and 2004, in England with Chelsea in 2005 and 2006.

Milan put in one of their worst performances of the season in what could be one of coach Carlo Ancelotti's final matches in charge with rumours growing that he will join Chelsea next season.

The coach was magnanimous in defeat but was clearly unhappy with his players.

Ancelotti said: "Tonight we never turned up."

The first half was a drab affair with few notable scoring chances until Udinese opened their account from the penalty spot after veteran defender Paolo Maldini was adjudged to have felled Antonio Floro Flores in the box.

Maldini, who will play only two more games for Milan this season before retiring, was perhaps lucky to escape with only a booking.

However, the visitors were punished when Geatano D'Agostino converted the spot-kick.

That was the only clear chance of the first half although Andrea Pirlo did clip a free-kick just wide for the visitors, with Udinese goalkeeper Samir Handanovic seemingly having it well covered.

Ancelotti reacted quickly by throwing on striker Filippo Inzaghi for defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini at the break, but four minutes later Udinese doubled their advantage.

Milan's defence went to sleep at a corner and Christian Zapata, alone at the back post fired home from two yards out.

Ancelotti threw on Ronaldinho and Andrei Shevchenko but it wasn't until injury time that Milan came alive when Massimo Ambrosini headed home the consolation goal. But things could have been worse as Fabio Quagliarella for the hosts crashed a shot against the upright at fulltime. Sapa-AFP

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