Udinese beat AC Milan; Inter Milan secure title

May 17th, 2009 - 3:18 pm ICT by IANS  

AC Milan Rome, May 17 (DPA) Udinese beat AC Milan 2-1 late Saturday through goals from Gaetano D’Agostino and Cristian Zapata in a crucial win that allowed Inter Milan to secure the Serie A title.
Inter are assured of keeping the scudetto badge on their jerseys for a fourth straight time when they tackle guests Siena Sunday with a seven-point advantage, which Milan can’t close in their two remaining games.

Milan are still well positioned to retain one of three berths that directly qualify for the next Champions League, as they have seven more points than fourth-place Fiorentina.

The Florence side, who welcome Sampdoria Sunday, have a single point more than Genoa and are striving to leapfrog third-place Juventus to avoid a qualification round to reach the European tournament.

At Udine’s Friuli stadium, D’Agostino converted a spot kick for the hosts in the 31st minutes after Milan veteran Paolo Maldini floored Antonio Floro Flores in the box.

Milan’s reaction lacked grit, and the Devils only managed to threaten in the 44th minute through a drive that Brazil star Kaka fired from a tight angle.

The Devils’ troubles got worse in the 49th minute when their dithering defence allowed Colombian defender Zapata an easy, close-range flick for 2-0.

Things did not improve for Milan in the remaining minutes despite the fielding of veteran Filippo Inzaghi, who hit the post in the final minutes before Massimo Ambrosini nodded home a consolation goal in injury time.

“To win against such a team you must not make mistakes,” Udinese coach Pasquale Marino said. “It takes tactics and technique because they can punish you at the first occasion. My team did well under all aspects. (Beating Milan) was a gift to ourselves more than to Inter, because (the win) leaves us some chance to secure sixth place.

“(Inter) have demonstrated to be the strongest. Winning so many straight titles is never easy. They have a great team and are well coached and always deserved to win.”

Udinese lie seventh, three points behind Roma, and have two games left to try to overtake the Rome side to secure the second of two berths for the Europa League, which next season replaces the UEFA Cup.

“We played far worse than the games we played in the past weeks,” Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “We never got into the game, and Udinese were faster than us. I think the team with more consistency won the (Serie A) title.”

A pulsating game earlier Saturday at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico saw Roma prevail 4-3 over guests Catania through a Simone Perrotta brace and a late goal from veteran defender Christian Panucci.

The win at the Stadio Olimpico kept the Rome side in sixth place, with faint hopes to claim a place in next season’s Champions League.

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