Inter retain Italian Cup

Rome, May 12:

Inter Milan retained the Italian Cup after beating Roma 3-1 here on Thursday for a 4-2 aggregate victory in the two-legged final.

First-half goals from Esteban Cambiasso and Julio Cruz left Roma with an uphill battle before Obafemi Martins grabbed a third for Inter in the 76th minute. Shabani Nonda pulled one in the 80th, but it was all to no avail as Inter lifted the trophy for a fifth time.

Roma took some consolation from the return to action of Francesco Totti. Totti came off the bench early in the second half for his first appearance since breaking a bone in his left leg on February 19. His return is good news for Italy coach Marcello Lippi with the World Cup less than a month away.

Having scored a crucial away goal in Rome to gain the upper hand, Inter took the lead in the sixth minute. Javier Zanetti ran down the right wing and crossed for Cambiasso whose thunderous left-foot volley flashed past Alexander Doni and into the top corner.

Cruz went close in the 41st minute when he stole in at the back post to reach Adriano’s cross, but he dragged his shot wide with only Doni to beat. The Argentinian striker made amends in first half stoppage time, racing onto a defence-splitting pass from Dejan Stankovic before taking the ball around Doni and side-footing home.

Cruz then set up Martins for an easy chance which he tucked away with ease before Nonda headed in Totti’s crossed free-kick.