Euro Zone: Mourinho keeps cool as Inter win title to set up historic treble tilt
Monday 17 May 2010
This time there was no ecstatic Nou Camp-style one-man pitch invasion from Jose Mourinho. He simply disappeared straight down the tunnel as the final whistle was blown on a Serie A season that leaves Internazionale as Double winners and on the verge of an unprecedented treble.
"Anything Carlo Ancelotti can do, I can do better," was perhaps the sentiment as he saw his side set up the possibility of their first ever treble. Twenty-four hours after Ancelotti had done the Double with Chelsea, Mourinho won his second consecutive Scudetto, having already landed the Italian Cup.
In five days' time his side will face Bayern Munich in the European Cup final in Madrid. Inter will start as favourites because the Germans travel to the Bernabeu Stadium without the suspended Franck Ribéry.
In what may yet turn out to be Mourinho's last league game as Inter coach,the Portuguese was made to sweat for the sixth league title of his career. Inter led Claudio Ranieri's Roma by two points before yesterday's games but they started nervously at the home of already relegated Siena.
Things took a turn for the worse on 39 minutes when Montenegro striker Mirko Vucinic scored to put Roma one up against Chievo after latching on to a long ball from Daniele de Rossi. With Inter unable to break the deadlock at Siena, that put Ranieri's team in pole position. Roma went 2-0 before the break when vice-captain De Rossi sent a shot past the Chievo goalkeeper Lorenzo Squizzi. Meanwhile, Inter's players headed nervously down the tunnel knowing that without a second-half goal they would finish second.
Diego Milito headed a Mario Balloteli cross straight at the Siena goalkeeper Gianluca Curci in the first half and then fired over from the edge of the area after being set up by Javier Zanetti.
But on 57 minutes Miltio scored. Once again Zanetti was the architect, storming through Siena's defence and rolling the ball to his compatriot who scored his 22nd goal of the season. Julio Cesar dropped a cross but the goalkeeper recovered to gather the loose ball and Inter held on to be crowned champions for the fifth year in a row.
Even keeping the title could not bring Mourinho to rule out his rumoured exit from Inter. "This is not my home. This is not an easy place to work and be happy," he said. "There has been no time to think. Now it's an historic week for Inter and we want to give everything we have. Then I need to relax, spend two or three days thinking about myself and then I will decide."
In Spain, Real Madrid's sporting director, Jorge Valdano, hinted that coach Manuel Pellegrini would be fired after Barcelona won La Liga yesterday. "We salute the champions," he said. "Now the debate will open within the club as to whether the coach continues and we will see what decision we take." Asked about Mourinho who will now be favourite to take over, Valdano added: "Mourinho has got other battles to fight at the moment."
Real failed to beat Malaga, drawing 1-1 to leave them four points adrift of Barça who thrashed Valladolid 4-0. Lionel Messi scored twice taking his tally for the season to a record breaking 47 in all competitions and 34 in the league. The Argentine takes the Golden Boot with eight more league goals than Cristiano Ronaldo whose first season in Spain ended in disappointment.
It was the first time in 12 years that Barcelona had won the title at the Nou Camp and as every player took the microphone to salute the supporters Thierry Henry said his goodbyes. "It has been a pleasure to play for this club," said the Frenchman, who looks set for Major League Soccer next season.
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