| Milan goes blue: Inter Milan’s Argentinian midfielder Esteban Matias Cambiasso celebrates
after scoring his goal [AFP]
AC Milan rules in Europe and beyond. Within Italy, Inter Milan is still the team to beat.
Argentine players Julio Ricardo Cruz and Esteban Cambiasso scored in Inter’s 2-1 win over Milan in the city derby.
Milan won the Champions League last season and was crowned the Club World Cup champion in Japan a week ago.
Inter is the reigning Italian champion and has now clinched Serie A’s ceremonial winter title with two games to spare.
“Have we beaten the world champions? We weren’t thinking about that, Inter-Milan is an important game for what the two teams represent beyond titles,” Cambiasso said.
“For us this was a chance to close out a magical year, the one with the record-filled league title. We were able to beat Milan for the third time in a row and that’s important for the fans.”
Andrea Pirlo put Milan ahead with one of his trademark free kicks in the 18th minute and Inter responded with goals from Cruz in the 36th and Cambiasso in the 63rd.
“Milan didn’t do much in the first half to take the lead, but Pirlo did a great job,” Inter coach Roberto Mancini said.
“In the second half we struggled a little only at the end, but we deserved to win.”
Hasan Salihamidzic scored first and David Trezeguet added his league-leading 13th goal as Juventus beat Siena 2-0.
Inter leads with 43 points, AS Roma is next with 36 and Juventus is third with 35. Milan has only 18 points.
Roma beat Sampdoria 2-0 Saturday with two goals from Francesco Totti.
In Sunday’s other games, it was: Fiorentina 5, Cagliari 1; Livorno 1, Atalanta 1; Napoli 1, Torino 1; Palermo 2, Lazio 2; Reggina 3, Catania 1; and Udinese 2, Empoli 2.
In Milan, Ivan Cordoba was given a yellow card for a dubious foul on Filippo Inzaghi immediately in front of the area to set up Pirlo’s free kick.
Inter could do nothing but watch as the Italy midfielder expertly curved his shot over Inter’s wall and into the top left corner of the net.
Inter midfielder Luis Antonio Jimenez hit the crossbar in the 20th before Cruz equalized with his 10th goal of the season, putting him in second position on the league list behind Trezeguet.
Cruz took a pass from Cambiasso and managed to score despite three defenders surrounding him.
Milan used all three of its substitutions before Cambiasso scored the winner with a shot from the edge of the penalty area that Rossoneri goalkeeper Dida misjudged.
Dida dived too far to his left as the ball entered the center of the goal.
Milan had a chance to equalise in the 88th but Massimo Ambrosini slipped as he tried to connect with a cross from Serginho with no defenders between him and the goal.
Serie A now has a three-week break.