UPDATE 2-Soccer-Roma beat Inter to retain Italian Cup

Sun May 25, 2008 12:30am BST

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By Paul Virgo

ROME May 24 (Reuters) - Goals by Philippe Mexes and Simone Perrotta gave AS Roma a 2-1 win over Serie A champions Inter Milan in the Italian Cup final on Saturday.

Roma retained the trophy and gained some revenge for missing out on the league title after French defender Mexes glided unmarked into the area to smack a David Pizarro corner into the net in the 35th minute.

Italy midfielder Simone Perrotta scored after a one-two with Montenegro forward Mirko Vucinic to double Roma's lead in the 53rd minute.

Inter's Portuguese midfielder Pele, on as a substitute, pulled a goal back just before the hour with a remarkable shot from 25 metres.

Italian President Giorgio Napolitano handed the trophy to Roma captain Francesco Totti, who was unable to play because of injury.

"We shared this festival with our wonderful fans," Roma coach Luciano Spalletti told a news conference.

"We didn't need this victory to show that we are not much inferior to Inter. I told the lads before the game that they had done a great championship and they had the chance to make it really great."

Roma surged forward in the opening period and Perrotta had a powerful strike deflected away from goal.

DESPERATE DEFENDING

Roma continued to create more danger and it took desperate defending from Cristian Chivu to deny Perrotta from close range.

Brazilian Doni produced a fine save to keep out a right-footed strike from outside the area by Brazilian defender Maxwell in the 25th but Roma were soon back on the offensive.

Vucinic could not quite get enough boot on a Marco Cassetti cross before Mexes struck.

Roma looked sharper after the break too and extended the advantage through Perrotta, although Inter protested that Cassetti committed a foul earlier in the move.

Nicolas Burdisso almost equalised four minutes after Pele's goal when the Argentine defender hit the post with a header.

Otherwise Roma hung on without too much trouble to gain revenge for finishing runners-up to Inter in the league for the second year on the trot. They also equalled Juventus's record of nine Italian Cup victories.

"You can lose a match or win, it's down to a detail," Spaletti said. "Look at what happened between Chelsea and Manchester United. (They say that) because someone slipped the coach is worth nothing, the players have failed again this year. We have to change this way of thinking."

Saturday's match was the fourth successive Cup final between the teams. Roma beat Inter 7-4 on aggregate last season when it was contested over two legs and Inter won the previous two years.

(Reporting by Paul Virgo; Editing by Ed Osmond)

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