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Back on top: Juventus end nine-year drought,win 28th title

Serie A: Win over Cagliari and Milan’s derby loss hands the scudetto to ‘Old Lady’ amid controversy

Written by Reuters | Milan | Published: May 8, 2012 1:39 am

Juventus clinched their first Italian title for nine seasons on Sunday but not until Serie A had dished up its customary climactic mix of chaos,drama and controversy. Unbeaten Juventus comfortably dispatched Cagliari 2-0 in Trieste that featured a last minute change in kickoff times.

The title was assured when AC Milan,the only team who could catch them,lost 4-2 to bitter rivals Inter in a match which had three penalties,a hat-trick for Diego Milito,two goals for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and yet another ghost goal. The final whistle in Trieste was greeted by an unruly pitch invasion by Juventus fans and the champions quickly re-ignited the controversy over how many titles they had won.

Officially,it was Juventus’ 28th Serie A title — an Italian record — yet Juve players and officials were quick to bring up the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal which resulted in them being stripped of the 2005 and 2006 titles. “It’s our 30th Scudetto,” Juventus sporting director Giuseppe Marotta said after his team moved four points clear of Milan with one game to play.

Titles debate

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon,who played in Serie B when Juventus were demoted as a result of Calciopoli,joined in the debate. “I won five titles on the field although they have only awarded me three of them,well,what can I do about it?” he said.

Milito gave Inter a 14th minute lead and they nearly had a second when Esteban Cambiasso header was clawed away by Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati amid suggestions the ball might have crossed the line. A minute before the break Milan were awarded a hugely controversial penalty after Inter Milan goalkeeper Julio Cesar dived at the feet of Kevin-Prince Boateng and clearly got his hand to the ball.

Julio Cesar tried to stall Ibrahimvoic with some playground antics by sticking his tongue out distract penalty taker but it was to no avail as the Swede fired home the equaliser. The forward then took his Serie A tally to 28 goals with a superbly-taken second goal at the start of the second half to hand the defending champions a lifeline.

Milito had other ideas as he won and converted a penalty to level the scores,then fired home the third penalty of the night in the 79th minute after Alessandro Nesta had been harshly judged to have handled. A brilliant fourth by Maicon completed the scoring and Inter celebrated as if they had won the title. Juventus can now complete the season unbeaten if they avoid defeat against Atlanta next Sunday and beat Napoli in the Italian Cup final on May 20.

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