By Paul Virgo
ROME May 24 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
"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.
Roma continued to create more danger and it took desperate
defending from Cristian Chivu to deny Perrotta from close
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
(Reporting by Paul Virgo; Editing by Ed Osmond)